Plans for Thai-Style Highway Unveiled to Ease Congestion

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport on Tuesday heard three proposals from a Chinese company to build a four-lane elevated expressway running from the Phnom Penh International Airport into the city in a bid to help ease traffic congestion.

Ministry spokesman Nou Vaddhanak said that the Henan Provincial Communications, Planning, Survey and Design Institute presented the results of its traffic reduction feasibility study Tuesday to Transport Minister Tram Iv Tek and representatives from City Hall and the Ministry of Finance.

Three routes were proposed: One would run 8.3 km over Russian Boulevard, a second would run 8.68 km over a railway line and a third would be built over Street 70 and run 10.82 km.

Either one would be 17.5 meters wide, include four lanes divided by a central barrier, and have a speed limit of 60 kph hour. There would be no motorcycle lanes.

Mr. Vaddhanak said the proposal extending the expressway over the railway line received the most support because the tracks were mostly disused and would cause the least disruption during construction. That option would cost $400 million, while the Russian Boulevard route would cost $362 million and the Street 70 route $459 million.

“Traffic jams are the main issue in Phnom Penh, because when there are traffic jams people waste their time and gasoline and it affects the environment,” Mr. Vaddhanak said.

“If this elevated expressway is built, it will look like the streets in Thailand,” he said. “It will make Phnom Penh look like a more civilized city.”

He stressed that no official decisions had been made and that further discussion was needed.

Also announced Tuesday on the Phnom Penh municipality’s Facebook page was a plan to reduce traffic at the Kbal Tnal overpass in the city’s south, subject to the completion of an impact study and government approval.

“We will build three additional overpasses and an underpass,” confirmed City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche.

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