Commercial that need to reach their destination by a particular time will be considered for access to the Yangon-Mandalay highway, according an announcement of the Public Works and Construction Ministry on Monday.
Previously, only private cars and passenger buses were permitted on the highway, according to the announcement. Vehicles loaded with perishable goods, such as produce, and periodical publications will be designated as ‘Carriers’ and allowed access to the road. Proprietors interested in the programme must register their vehicles and obtain permits before using the road.
Further rules and regulations will be explained at a meeting scheduled for January 21 at Public Works office in Nay Pyi Taw.
The Yangon-Mandalay highway stretches across 589 kilometres and passes through 22 townships.
The highway is comprised of the Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw tract (opened on March 25, 2009), the Nay Pyi Taw-Sagarin tract (opened on December 29, 2010) and the Sagarin-Tagontine-Mandalay tract (opened on December 23, 2011).
The Ministry of Construction also has plans to widen the highway from four lanes to eight. To that end, farmlands and wooded areas on each side of the road must be cleared. The ministry says it has compensated landowners about Ks 1.5 billion (US$1.5 million) in total.
The owners of the remaining 9,419 acres of land to be cleared will be compensated in the current fiscal year and next year, according to the Ministry of Construction.
In May 2013, the Ministry of Construction permitted distribution vehicles of private daily newspapers and some other cars to use the Yangon-Mandalay highway.
However, after an accident on the road killed 11 people later that month and several newspapers reported on the causes of that accident, including the poor quality of the road, media vehicles were banned.
The ministry says it aims to revoke the ban and permit media vehicles once again.