Construction on the city’s drainage system in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district has exacerbated traffic congestion along several major thoroughfares and will continue for some time to come, officials said Thursday.
Crews are replacing drainage pipes along the riverside, south of the Royal Palace on street 240, at the intersections of streets 154 and 19, as well as Ang Doung Quay, Monivong Boulevard, Norodom Boulevard, Sisowath Quay and around several public parks, said Moeung Sophan, deputy project director of road construction in Phnom Penh.
The district-wide replacement project initially began in October 2007.
Nhem Saran, general director of the municipal public works and transportation department, said the $20-million project, funded by the Japanese government, is more than 50 percent complete and should wrap up all construction sites by March 2010.
He said the pipes in the existing drainage system, which only measure about 80 cm to 1 meter in diameter, can not flush out rainwater quick enough to prevent flooding in the district’s more popular areas, such as the Royal Palace, the former National Assembly, Phsar Kandal and Phsar Thmei. Sand can also clog up pipes, further slowing drainage, he added.
“After the drainage work is finished, 100 percent of the rain and sewage water in Phnom Penh can be directed into the Boeng Tompun channel,” Nhem Sara said. “I know it is difficult for public traffic, but it will be better after we finish construction. It is a long term improvement.”
Tin Prasoer, municipal traffic police chief, said the roadwork has caused a few traffic jams especially on the main roads. He said officers are stationed along three main roads-Mao Tse-tung, Monivong and Norodom boulevards—where traffic is typically very busy but added that the construction is an “inevitable issue.”
Mok Sopha, commune police chief of Phsar Kandal I in Daun Penh district, said before the construction began, the police informed authorities a week in advance of the construction to help them avoid delays.
When the repairs first began, he said the flow of traffic was slowed but “now my location is nearly ready, and the traffic flow is better.”