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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Residents concerned over expansion of troubled Hanoi Road

Residents concerned over expansion of troubled Hanoi Road

Claims the road construction is far exceeding its original plans, eating up residents' land, with no compensation packages in place.

RESIDENTS living in the vicinity of a municipal road expansion project in Sen Sok district (formerly Russei Keo district) claim they have been offered no compensation from City Hall, despite standing to lose houses and property to the construction project.

Residents of Sen Sok's Phnom Penh Thmey and Teok Thla communes told the Post the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship highway - more popularly known as Hanoi Road - is currently undergoing an expansion that residents say will see it nearly double in width along some sections of its length.

IF they takeup 15 meters, my house will be taken and i will have nowhere to live.

Notices issued by Russei Keo district Governor Khlaing Huot in May and December asked residents living in the project area to move fences, houses and any street stalls to accommodate the road's expansion to a width of eight metres.

But Phnom Penh Thmey resident Tey Narin said that the municipality had recently told residents to leave 15 metres clearance for the project.

"The old road is already seven metres wide. If they want to expand it to eight metres, they will take only one metre more and my house will not be affected," he said. "But if they take up 15 metres, my house will be taken and I will have nowhere to live."

He said that some families had already given up part of their land for the road expansion, but that others did not agree.

"I will not remove until there is compensation," he said.

Grand designs

Kong Sambo, Phnom Penh Thmey commune deputy chief, said Tuesday that the 2008 notices were outdated, and that current plans aimed to expand the road "up to 30 metres in width", constituting 22 metres of road surface and eight metres for drainage systems.

He said that the first kilometre of the four-kilometre expansion had alread been finished, and that people were happy with the results and willing to give up part of their land for the project.

Kong Sambo added that only 30 houses were "partly affected", while three or four houses will be swallowed entirely because they sat on small plots close to the new road.

"The project will affect people, but we have forwarded the matter to the municipality to find solutions for them," he said.

But Sek Sovanna, a lawyer for the Community for Legal Education Centre (CLEC), which is representing the residents, said that as many as 90 houses along the road had been affected by the project, including concrete and wooden houses that some people have lived in since 1979.

She said that the authorities' plans would have no effect on any residents' houses if they stuck to the original plans. "What they are implementing is over the limit of the project," she said.

CLEC lawyers filed an injunction at the Municipal Court on Tuesday to halt the construction and file complaints to City Hall, but have not yet received a response, Sek Sovanna said.

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