Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

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The underpass was opened temporarily to ease traffic congestion. Heng Chivoan

Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd.

The move is to reduce traffic jams in one of the capital’s most congested areas and comes at the request of Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng.

The prime minister made the announcement on October 26 at a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a cable-stayed concrete bridge across the Bassac river linking Koh Pich to the Koh Norea peninsula and from the peninsula to National Road 1 in Chbar Ampov district’s Niroth commune.

Sreng said because a flyover at the roundabout was still under construction, a temporary opening of the underpass was needed to ease congestions. He called on people living in the area to cooperate and show understanding and tolerance in regards to the impact caused by construction.

The Chaom Chao flyover and subway is a government project overseen by the municipal administration and contracted out to the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corp Ltd (OCIC), with a construction period of 30 months and a cost of $22 million. The construction started on June 29, 2018.

According to the technical specifications of the municipal Department of Public Works and Transport, the construction is divided into three parts. The main four-lane flyover links traffic from Russian Federation Blvd to National Road 3 with a length of 408m and a width of 15.8m.

The second overpass breaks left from the main overpass and connects traffic from Russian Federation Blvd to Veng Sreng street for one-way traffic. The flyover has one lane for cars and one for motorcycles with a total length of 202m and a width of 5.25m.

The third flyover is a left-turn curve linking traffic from Veng Sreng street to National Road 3 with a total length of 206m. It also has one lane for cars and one for motorbikes.

According to the public works department, the temporarily opened underpass has a total length of nearly 500m and a width of 8.5m for one-way traffic – two lanes for cars and one lane for motorcycles. It connects National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd.

Kong Sovann, a specialist adviser at the Ministry of Rural Development, told The Post on Sunday that a temporary opening of any parts of the road that are still under construction is based on the actual traffic situation.

In the case of the Chaom Chao underpass, he said technical staff must have been prepared to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers.

Sovann said he expects the underpass to have adequate lighting and cameras.