Traffic clogged streets in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district yesterday morning after a container truck became wedged beneath the city’s first—and just recently built—overpass. The container transporter got stuck just hours after another truck jammed itself below the road bridge in exactly the same spot, traffic police said.
The first vehicle was trapped by the low-slung Monivong Bridge overpass at 9 pm Monday evening. The truck, carrying firewood, hit the underside of the Phsar Doeum Thkov commune bridge, at the intersection of Norodom Boulevard, Street 271 and Monivong Bridge, and became wedged, municipal traffic police chief Heng Chantheary said.
The road bridge is 4.2 meters high at the point where the truck became trapped, but the load of firewood stood at 4.6 meters, Mr Chantheary said.
Hours later yesterday morning the second truck, registered to Kompong Speu transport company Seng Tong, hit the bridge in the same spot and its cargo became trapped beneath the overpass.
Traffic on the affected roads was delayed for four hours as the container truck was pulled free by another heavy vehicle, Mr Chantheary said.
“I have policemen on standby to ease traffic jams, but [yesterday] morning it was too difficult to clear up.
“This is the first time I have seen two trucks crash into the same overpass in the same place with just a few hours’ difference,” he said.
Nop Ny, 23, the driver of the trapped container truck, and Tom Chantong, 33, who was in the truck transporting the firewood, were arrested, Mr Chantheary said. The drivers and their trucks were taken to the municipal traffic police station, where they will remain until the municipal government decides whether to fine either or both of the men, or make them pay damages, he added.
Seng Kong, 34, a motorcycle taxi driver who works in the area, said construction beside the road had forced the truck drivers to come too close to the new overpass. He said it was difficult for vehicles to pass between the road construction work and the overpass because the section of road is too narrow, adding that the situation had been causing traffic jams for more than a month.
Vendors on Street 271, who asked not to be named because they were afraid of retribution, complained yesterday about the length of time the overpass construction work has been going on, saying it disturbed their businesses and was a continuing cause of traffic jams in the area.