Myanmar looks for partner to upgrade "Death Highway" on BOT

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Myanmar looks for partner to upgrade "Death Highway" on BOT

The Ministry of Construction of Myanmar has called for expressions of interest for an upgrade of the Rangoon-Mandalay highway under a Build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme.

The road stretch is known locally as the 'Death Highway' for its high incidence of traffic accidents and fatalities.

EOIs for the international tender are to be submitted by January 30th.

The successful bidder for the upgrade of the 589-kilometer (366-mile) long highway will be responsible for widening the existing four lane asphalt road to eight lanes, laying guardrails, building service roads to nearby villages, and installing CCTV cameras to monitor traffic at toll stations and alert police to speeding drivers.

Under the build-operate-transfer proposal, the winning bidder of a future tender will construct and collect tolls on the highway for 30-40 years.

According to the local press, Kyi Zaw Myint, the highway project's chief engineer at the Ministry of Construction, said:

"We will evaluate proposals and company backgrounds before we call the tender. Developers will have not only build the road, but take care of long term maintenance and safety measures, as well as complying with international standards. It is possible that the eventual tender winners will be a foreign company or a joint venture between foreign and local partners."

This is the first time that the Ministry of Construction has invited foreign firms to register interest in domestic road projects. Several local construction companies have built or upgraded major roads under 30-year operating leases requiring long-term maintenance in exchange for a share of toll revenues.

From January this year alone, 147 people have died and 797 have been injured in 408 separate accidents. With the highway's upgrade, the ministry hopes to avoid repeating the mistakes of the initial project's rushed construction that have led to the road's abysmal accident record.

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