Construction of Country’s Second Overpass Set For This Month

Construction on Cambodia’s second overpass, set to span the congested intersection of Russian Federation and Kampuchea Krom boulevards, should begin this month, officials said yesterday.

The overpass is expected to carry traffic on Russian Boulevard over Kampuchea Krom in Tuol Kok district’s Toek La’ak I commune, according to information released by City Hall. A narrow off-ramp is planned on the eastbound lane of the overpass, which will allow motorists from National Road 4 heading toward central Phnom Penh to exit Russian Boulevard to the eastbound lanes of Kampuchea Krom.

The two east-west avenues are parallel until a junction in northwest Phnom Penh.

Heng Chantheary, municipal traffic police director, said the overpass should lighten traffic in the notoriously snarled intersection.

“If the overpass becomes a reality, it can reduce a lot of traffic jams,” he said yesterday.

Saing Sopheakvichet, deputy Tuol Kok district governor, said the project might affect one house and one gas station in the area of the proposed overpass. He said the municipality would “solve” the matter but did not elaborate.

Officials reached yesterday said it was too early to attach a timeline or price tag to the project.

Keut Chhe, deputy director of the municipal Cabinet, said the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation, the company tasked with building the overpass, was currently drilling on the land to see how deep the overpass’ foundation can reach.

“We want the company to start construction on the overpass this month,” he said.

According to information released last month by the city, the overpass should be between 398 and 438 meters long, 15.2 meters wide and 5.5 meters tall. The off-ramp from the overpass to Kampuchea Krom should be about 144 meters long and 6.5 meters wide.

OCIC built the country’s first overpass–the $6-million “sky bridge” at the intersection of Monivong and Norodom boulevards–which was inaugurated in June and opened shortly after. Company representatives were unavailable.

According to information from Handicap International, the Norodom-Monivong intersection was one of five locations in Phnom Penh where the highest number of motorcycle accidents were recorded in 2009.

Socheata Sann, Handicap International’s road safety program manager, said yesterday that her organization did not have recent traffic accident statistics for the intersection. However, she said some hazards remain.

“From my point of view, it is difficult to walk” near the overpass, she said yesterday. Ms Sann cited the lack of sidewalks for pedestrians to cross the overpass and curb heights and traffic flow underneath the sky bridge that would make walking difficult.

“Pedestrians should be considered into the infrastructure’s construction,” she said of the Russian Federation Boulevard project.

    (Additional reporting by Drew Foster)


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