Traffic clogged streets in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district yesterday morning after a container truck became wedged beneath the city’s first and just recently built overpass. The container transporter got stuck just hours after another truck also jammed itself below the road bridge in the exact same spot, traffic police said.
The first vehicle was trapped by the low-slung Monivong Bridge overpass at 9 pm on Monday evening. The truck, carrying firewood, hit the underside of the Phsar Doeum Thkov commune bridge–at the intersection of Norodom Boulevard, Street 271 and Monivong Bridge–and became wedged, municipal traffic police chief Heng Chantheary said. Thought the road bridge is 4.2 meters high at the point where the truck was trapped, the load of firewood stood at 4.6 meters, he added.
Just hours later on Tuesday morning the second truck, registered to Kompong Speu transport firm Seng Tong, hit the same spot and its shipping container cargo became securely trapped beneath the overpass. Delays on the affected roads lasted for four hours while the container truck was pulled free by another heavy vehicle, Mr Chantheary said.
“I have policemen on standby to ease traffic jams, but [yesterday] morning it was too difficult to clear up.
“This is the first time I have seen two trucks crash into the same overpass in the same place with just a few hours’ difference,” he said.
Nop Ny, 23, the driver of the trapped container truck, and Tom Chantong, 33, who was in the truck transporting the firewood, were arrested, Mr Chantheary said. The pair and their trucks were taken to the municipal traffic police station where they will remain until the municipal government decides whether to fine either or both of them, or make them pay damages, he added.
Seng Kong, 34, a motorcycle taxi driver who works in the area, blamed construction beside the road for forcing the trucks to drive too close to the new overpass. He said it was difficult for vehicles to pass between the road construction work and the overpass because the section of road is too narrow, adding that this had been causing traffic jams for more than a month.
Vendors on Street 271, who asked not to be named because they were afraid of retribution, complained yesterday about the length of time the overpass construction work has been going on, saying it disturbed their businesses and was still responsible for many traffic jams in the area.