Traffic Barricade Draws Fire

When municipal authorities erected a concrete barricade at Monivong and Sihanouk boulevards in early November, they said it would help to stop drivers from making illegal left turns.

After a slew of recent car accidents involving the barricade, however, some are calling for its destruction.

“The barricade’s reflector is death,” said Sou Sara, Prampi Ma­ka­ra district police chief of traffic. “People cannot see [the barricade] properly when driving toward other vehicles.”

Police said three accidents have involved the barricade since it was built on Nov 4, leaving one person dead and three cars damaged.

On Nov 23, a drunken man driving a Toyota Cam­ry smashed into the barricade, knocking the wife of a famous Cambodian kickboxer unconscious.

Two days later, a group of drunken teens coming from a nearby karaoke parlor late at night hit the barricade. No injuries were reported.

In the early morning of Dec 17, Sary Mony, a 32-year-old program officer with the International Organization of Migration, drove his Toyota Camry into the barricade. Witnesses said the impact sounded like an explosion. Sary Mony was found trapped in the car and died in the ambulance on his way to a nearby hospital.

“Authorities made this without serious consideration,” said Chin Chhin, 78, who lives by the intersection and witnessed the accidents. “Before this barricade, there were more accidents, but there was rarely death. The accidents were minor at most.”

Officials blamed the accidents on the drivers, saying the barricade was not responsible for Sary Mony’s death.

“The crasher is not a newcomer to the city,” said Peng Sokun, deputy director of the municipality’s public works department. “He’s an official. He knows this barricade is built, but he violated the traffic rules.”

He did say, however, that the barricade should be better illuminated.

“I am wrong for not installing a lamp there,” Peng Sokun said, adding that the city does not have the funds to do so. “But drivers still crash into the Inde­pendence Monu­ment as well,” he said.


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