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Traffic travels past a barrier with a no-entry sign on Sothearos Boulevard
Traffic travels past a barrier with a no-entry sign on Sothearos Boulevard yesterday afternoon in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

A road changes course

The rules of Sothearos Boulevard are once again shifting.

After recently converting the road to a one-way street – a move that was largely ignored by the motos and cars that use the busy thoroughfare – the Phnom Penh Municipality released a new statement on Saturday announcing that much of the stretch would once again allow drivers to use both lanes of traffic.

The decision was made in an attempt to decongest the heavily trafficked section of the street, especially near Aeon mall.

“For passengers it is a headache to travel now,” said motorist Kim Bopha, of Phnom Penh.

The city will also be extending a four-metre length of the sidewalk, from the Russian Embassy to Norodom Boulevard. For those who sell goods along Sothearos, the move comes as an opportunity to attract more commerce along the road.

Local Sou Pheakdy, who sells produce along the side of the street each day, said he will be forced to quickly renegotiate his territory. In addition to attracting more foot traffic, more vendors – and competition – may flock to the new stretch of sidewalk.

“When they extend the sidewalk, it will affect us and our selling on the sidewalk,” Pheakdy said. “It is a very rushed change for us.”

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