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Senior officials from Austroads travelled to Phnom Penh in early October to undertake preliminary work with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) to update Cambodia’s road design standards.
Led by Austroads’ Chief Executive, Dr. Geoff Allan, the delegation used the 3-day visit to consult with MPWT and inform the methodology for revising road design standards in Cambodia.
Austroads provides technical standards to ensure efficient, reliable and safe road transport in Australia and New Zealand. Cambodia’s existing standards are based on Austroads guidance and were developed with Australian assistance in the early 2000s.
The Austroads trip to Cambodia was facilitated by Australia's Partnerships for Infrastructure (P4I) initiative, following a direct request from MPWT. A road design standards workshop was held on 4 October, with around 50 representatives in attendance from Austroads, MPWT, the Australian Embassy and P4I.
Introductory remarks were delivered by P4I’s Executive Director, Elena Rose, who said Austroads was mobilised to bring high-quality expertise to meet the government’s specific needs.
“This new partnership between Austroads and MPWT will update and establish contemporary, fit-for-purpose, and adaptable road design for resilient roads and related infrastructure assets,” she said.
“The new partnership is also emblematic of one the biggest strengths of P4I – our ability to bring together government-to-government partnerships that enable Australia and Southeast Asian officials and practitioners to share knowledge and deepen our people-to-people ties.”
Following a formal welcome from H.E. Yit Bunna, MPWT Secretary of State, discussions centred on pavement design, road material supply chain, and the integration of gender equality, disability and social inclusion in road planning.
On 5 October, Austroads conducted site visits to National Roads 1, 8 and 11 to understand road construction practices and challenges in road development and user behaviours. The team also visited the MPWT laboratory which is used to test road construction materials.
Road transport is the main option for the movement of goods and people in Cambodia, although many roads remain unpaved. Significant improvement works are being undertaken by MPWT to upgrade national, rural and provincial roads across the country.