The Government and the World Bank are spending nearly $4 million on street improvements
and new traffic lights in Phnom Penh this year.
Deteriorated sections of 17 streets are listed in the improvement plan, totalling
17,813 meters. Thirteen are being funded by the Ministry of Finance through the Municipal
Department of Public Works and Transport; the World Bank has granted money for upgrades
of four streets and three new sets of traffic signals.
Signals will be installed at three intersections that are heavily overloaded: Neang
Kong Hing roundabout (the statue will not be moved), Olympic water tower roundabout
and at the junction of St 205 and Mao Tse Tung Blvd.
Work began last month on Sts 110, 144, 154 and 173.
Ean Narin, Deputy Director of DPWT, said parts of 61 streets, totalling 86,543 m
in length, were upgraded from 2001 to 2003 at a cost of $15,089,298. Last year the
World Bank helped pay for rebuilding on Charles De Gaulle (Monivong Blvd to St 271)
Parts of another nineteen streets - 47, 105, 111, 156; 265, 261, 295, 233, 109 (those
five between Kampuchea Krom and Russian Blvd); 253, 261, 574, 335, 167, 331, 275,
175, 317 and 570 - are on the upgrade program for next year, which has been submitted
to the government for approval.
He said in general priority was given to upgrading streets that would ease congestion
on the major streets. At the same time they were trying to give attention to unpaved
streets and those that had never been repaired since the civil war period. Streets
which had been repaired and had since deteriorated due to heavy traffic (such as
part of 214) were not being forgotten either, but they would have to wait.
Narin said Phnom Penh traffic congestion continued to increase despite the upgrades
and flow improvements carried out every year. "It's strange. When we finish
our street improvement plan each year, it's still crowded, nothing changes."
The municipality was still planning to create some one-way pair streets to reduce
traffic jams and allow more kerbside parking. Pasteur (51) and 63 were the first
priority for implementation.
He said Phnom Penh streets cannot be enlarged to their full widths because of the
cost of interfering with underground and overhead services.
DPWT had experimented on streets Monivong, Sihanouk, Russia and 598 to build median
barriers dividing the streets to reduce traffic jams and accidents. Experiments with
solid centerline median barriers had been successful and the Monivong barrier will
be extended from the old Olympic stadium to Mao Tse Tung Blvd.