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Expressway fence scofflaws subject to legal action: official

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Vehicles line up to travel on the capital-Sihanoukville expressway. TRANSPORT MINISTRY

Expressway fence scofflaws subject to legal action: official

Authorities have been told to take action against residents who continue to cut fences alongside the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, and will also either detain or fine the drivers of light vehicles who attempt to use the road, which is limited to cars, heavy vehicles and motorcycles with an engine capacity of at least 500cc.

The expressway, which is free to use for the month of October, cuts travel time from five or six hours via National Road 4 to just two.

From October 1-5, more than 50,000 vehicles had used the expressway, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Heang Sotheayut.

Sotheayut noted that there had been no life-threatening traffic accidents on the high-speed road, with only minor accidents, vehicle breakdowns and flat tyres reported.

“As with any stretch of road, some problems occurred, but there were no serious incidents. We are continuing to educate drivers on how to navigate the road correctly, as some are not used to the standards required. There were one or two accidents reported, but they were not collisions, merely drivers clipping the fence, which is purely driver error,” he said.

Regarding residents who cut fence erected to prevent animals and undersized vehicles from entering the expressway, he said anyone caught doing so would be detained and reprimanded. Fines would follow for repeat offenders. These two kinds of illegal behaviour could have potentially life-threatening consequences, he said, adding that such actions would not be tolerated.

“We are paying close attention to this kind of offence, as we have repeatedly reminded the public that it is forbidden. If we find someone cutting a fence or lifting a small motorbike over the barrier to enter the expressway, we will take action. We may impound the vehicle, demand they sign a contract under threat of arrest or issue fines.

“Now that it is widely known that these actions are prohibited, there are no excuses,” he added.

Separately on October 5, transport minister Sun Chanthol chaired a weekly meeting to discuss important work related to implementation of infrastructure projects, waterway transport, wastewater and new technology projects.

This weekly meeting also discussed challenges related to the expressway trial, and awarded medals to the engineering team of Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd – a subsidiary of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) – which constructed the new road, completing the project ahead of schedule.

“The meeting focused on potential difficulties, and participants discussed solutions to any illegal activities that might compromise the smooth running of the expressway,” said the ministry in a social media post.

The ministry also claimed that it would examine ways to streamline toll collection and would share data from the expressway’s operators to ensure transparency.

The expressway connects Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and passes through Kandal, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong provinces.

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