Despite commerce having been effectively frozen on the eastern end of Sihanouk Boulevard for three days, business owners there were upbeat Tuesday about future prospects once the street’s repaving is finished.
One restaurant owner, who identified herself as Ms Ho, said she’s had fewer customers since the repaving project began between Street 63 and Monivong Boulevard. “My restaurant is not as busy as usual,” she said of her Chinese noodle shop.
But she was confident her customers will return when the construction is done. The repaved road in front of her restaurant will improve appearances. “Unlike some other restaurants around here, we will get a nice smooth road in front,” she said.
Yim Khorn, who owns a restaurant on the other end of the block, said the street needed renovating. “My customers have decreased as you can see right now, but I don’t mind because this is the result of the construction.” The street sat empty Tuesday except for a back hoe and various dump trucks. The asphalt has been stripped away and left in piles along the sidewalks.
The French Bakery cafe and a few other businesses closed their doors Tuesday. The parking lot at Lucky Supermarket was empty and customers were sparse during the first half of the day.
Supervisors at Lucky, however, declined to answer questions about their business.
Cheng Saroeun, general manager for the PSBK construction site on Sihanouk Boulevard, said the renovation there is the 11th of 15 repaving projects his company is undertaking.
The Sihanouk project will cover an area 3,100 meters long and 18 meters wide and will cost $500,000. Street lamps will be installed along the sidewalk as part of the project.
The current stretch is to be completed next week. The rest of the street will be repaved in segments through May. The project is part of the sprawling municipal renovation started two months ago. Contractors will be paid by municipal taxes collected over the next five years.
(Additional reporting by Marc Levy)