PATHEIN—A coastal road stretching 274 kilometers (170 miles) from Rakhine State’s Thandwe to Gaw Yin Gyi Island in Irrawaddy Region’s Ngapudaw Township will be built at a cost of around 300 billion kyats ($187 million), according to Irrawaddy Region Minister for Finance and Planning U Htay Win.
At the instruction of President U Win Myint, the coastal road will be built during the term of the current government to help spur the economic development of Thandwe and ensure security along the 170-mile stretch of coast, he said.
“This road is important not only for the economy but also for the security of the coast and the region. The president has instructed the construction ministry to build the road. We are making a start on it,” U Htay Win told The Irrawaddy.
There are five beaches—Maw Tin Sun, Gaw Yin Gyi, Ngwesaung, Chaungtha and Shwe Thaung Yan—on the coast of Irrawaddy Region. In Rakhine State, two beaches lie on the Bay of Bengal, namely Kan Thar Yar Beach in Gwa Township and the famous Ngapali Beach in Thandwe.
The coastal road will create a short-cut for traveling between Irrawaddy Region and Rakhine State and will also enable beach-to-beach travel between Myanmar’s most famous beaches.
Another purpose of the road is to improve security along Myanmar’s western coast as the waters have been known to be used by the stateless Rohingya, who are banned from traveling outside Rakhine State, to get into others part of Myanmar via Irrawaddy Region’s beaches.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the first segment of the road, Pathein Bridge No. 2 in Irrawaddy Region’s capital Pathein on Oct. 27, President U Win Myint called for the rest of the project to be completed on schedule as it will contribute to the security and sovereignty of the country, adding that the road will be the longest ever coastal road in the world.
“This road is important not only for the development of western parts [of the country] but also for the security and sovereignty of the country,” the president said in his address to the Irrawaddy regional government.
He also attended the opening of Shwe Thaung Yan Bridge in Shwe Thaung Yan Township, which is part of the western coast road project, on Oct. 28.
In November, Kyuauk Kyun Bridge linking Rakhine State and Irrawaddy Region was opened to the public. The opening ceremony was attended by both the Rakhine and Irrawaddy chief ministers.
Two more bridges are yet to be built in Irrawaddy Region in order to connect it to the beaches in Rakhine. Those bridges will be built by the construction ministry, said U Htay Win.
“The project is being implemented with funds of both the Union and regional governments. Both technically and financially, the two remaining bridges have to be constructed by the construction ministry,” he said.
The Irrawaddy regional government also has drawn up plans to build offshore supply bases, deep-sea ports, and gas-fired power plants upon completion of the coastal road.