Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Heang Sotheayuth told The Post on October 17 that in the first 15 days of October, almost 200,000 vehicles used the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway.

He said the number of drivers using the new road continued to increase, with busy days seeing more than 20,000 drivers taking advantage of the first month of toll-free travel. This was encouraging, and disruptions had been kept to a minimum.

“We saw some congestion at the entrance, but only during periods of especially heavy use. The delays were due to ongoing safety training. We have not opened all of the available gates yet, as the free trial period is being used as a pilot programme for operations,” he added.

He noted that there had been a few incidences of speeding drivers hitting barriers, but there had been no life-threatening accidents.

“Some people had released cattle onto the verges of the highway, but this problem has decreased, thanks to our widely-shared education campaign. I remind the people living near the expressway that they must be responsible for their livestock,” he said.

The ministry has been monitoring the operator of the toll road so that it could evaluate the standards of service they were being provided to motorists.

With the increase in traffic, the ministry once again issued a warning to drivers to keep right, unless overtaking, in which case drivers should indicate for at least five seconds before moving into the far left overtaking lane. Once the manoeuvre is safely completed, they should return to the right lane.

“If traffic is heavy, drivers may use both lanes, although heavy vehicles must remain in the normal lane,” it said.

The far right lane is reserved for emergencies, with vehicles permitted to stop only in the case of a flat tyre or mechanical issue.

According to the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration, 125,000 local and international tourists visited the province over the weekend of October 15 and 16 – as many visitors as were previously recorded in an average week.