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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sihanoukville trees make way for pavement

Sihanoukville trees make way for pavement

The price of progress? Trading trees for pavement, the city gears up

for its inevitable expansion.

H

undreds of trees have been cut away from the sides of Ekareach Blvd (Independence

Boulevard) in Sihanoukville to extend the width of the road.

Independence Blvd is currently 4.8 kilometers long and about 6 meters wide. Now the

municipality plans to extend the width of the road by three meters on each side.

To enable the extension, all the shade trees along the boulevard have been felled.

Third deputy governor of Sihanoukville Sboung Sarath, who is leading the rebuilding,

said that the road needed to be doubled in width in order to avoid traffic jams in

the seaside town.

He said the felled trees, which included coconut and flame trees, would be replaced

by flowering trees to beautify the coastal town.

He added there were three other reasons for cutting down the trees. First: to prevent

them falling down on the road when it is windy; secondly to prevent the dropping

of the ripe coconuts on the heads of people, especially children; and finally to

stop the destruction of the road.

Sihanoukville as residents and visitors will fondly remember it from the rapidly-receding 20th century - tranquil and pastoral.

Sarath estimates that the first part of the project will cost about $10,000 : to

cut the trees, dig up the roots and level the surrounding soil. The funding was provided

by the municipality and the people who live along the road.

The trees had been planted in the 1960s and had grown to between 8 and 12 meters

high since then.

Sarath had noted that there were two views on this issue, but said most people had

supported the clearing of the trees to avoid danger to their children, however a

small number of people seem to be critical of this action.

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