Ferries to ease bridge traffic

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The municipal administration hopes to begin the service by month’s end. Lay Samean

The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration and local conglomerate Overseas Cambodian Investment Corp Ltd (OCIC) are planning to temporarily redirect the ferry route from Koh Norea peninsula in Chbar Ampov district’s Niroth commune to Koh Pich in the city centre at the end of this month to mitigate traffic congestion on National Road 1 and Monivong Bridge.

Municipal governor Khuong Sreng, who recently inspected the proposed location for the ferry service, told The Post: “We have prepared four ferries. I want to launch the ferry service as soon as the end of February as planned, but that all depends on the reality of the situation.

“We are contacting Arey Ksat ferry port to check if they are able to provide us with at least two ferries for temporary use. And we will add more of them once they are available,” he said.

Sreng noted that people using these ferries would need to pay a fee because the government is just negotiating in this matter with the private sector.

“The investor is the service provider. The government are just acting as mediators. We don’t have money in our budget to spend on gasoline and buying new ferries. The fee will be the same as the fee for using the Arey Ksat ferry,” he said.

A motor taxi driver and resident of Koh Norea, who asked to be identified only as Borey, told The Post that he applauded the move.

“When I saw the announcement of a temporary use of ferries, I was happy because we live to the east of the Chbar Ampov [Monivong] bridge, which is very congested. Once the ferry is launched it will help to some extent.

“So people travelling from Kien Svay district can drive down National Road 1 and then cross at Koh Norea to [central] Phnom Penh by ferry. But I would suggest that they have two or three ferries for transporting people as one is not enough,” he said.

Borey said traffic congestion happens every day both in the morning and evening time, especially near Chbar Ampov secondary school.

Prum Ratha, another resident in Chbar Ampov II commune, said the temporary ferry was the only solution available that could reduce the traffic congestion.

“We’re spending almost the same time travelling on the congested road as we do using the ferry anyways, so passengers would probably choose the ferry because it won’t take up much of their time,” he said.

However, he requested that the government speed up the construction of the bridge linking Koh Norea peninsula to Koh Pich as soon as possible and also add more traffic police to the Chbar Ampov area to facilitate the flow of traffic.

A concrete and cable-stayed pillar bridge linking Koh Norea Development Zone to Koh Pich has been under construction since October 2020 and is scheduled to take approximately 35 months to build. When completed, the bridge will be 824m long and 24.5m wide and feature two 60m high cable-stayed pillars decorated with traditional Khmer motifs.