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Factories to be moved out of Phnom Penh to ease traffic

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Trucks line up at a checkpoint on Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar peninsula set up to check for overloaded and illegally modified trucks last year. Hong Menea

Factories to be moved out of Phnom Penh to ease traffic

A Phnom Penh city official told The Post on Monday that all warehouses and factories will be relocated along the capital’s new third ring road once it is completed in 2021. This will prevent heavy goods vehicles causing congestion and accidents in the city.

Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng said authorities will be able to prevent all large trucks from travelling into the city once warehouses and factories were relocated to the third ring road.

“Hun Sen has successfully started the third ring road, and we will now aim for all the warehouses and factories to be removed from the city and relocated along that road once it is completed. This will help us prevent 100 per cent of large trucks from travelling into the city,” he said.

Sreng said that despite a ban on daytime travel, some large vehicles still enter the city within restricted hours, but that such cases were rare. Large trucks that violated the ban are routinely detained.

Since 2013, the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall has banned large vehicles from travelling into the city between 5am and 9pm so as to reduce traffic accidents and traffic congestion in the capital.

Sreng said the reason a few large vehicles were still able to travel into the city during these hours was due to inevitable gaps in patrolling.

“Police and authorities are stationed on the outskirts of the city, but of course there are still gaps because officers are human and not machines. If they were machines they could stand there for 24 hours, but sometimes they go to the toilet or go to have lunch, so there are some gaps,” he said.

On January 14, the government launched the groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction for Phnom Penh’s third ring road.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said the 52km road will link to national roads two through five, as well as National Road 21 and the new Phnom Penh Autonomous Port in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district. The project is set to be completed in December 2021.

Sreng said a primary reason behind Municipal Hall’s construction of the third ring road was to relocate warehouses and factories away from the city.

“We will release a notice or conduct a workshop with the city’s warehouses, garment factory owners, or those who are transporting their goods into the city, to inform them that we plan to move their warehouses and factories to the third ring road."

“This will prevent large vehicles from travelling into the city and make it easier for them to transport their goods. We will also consult with them through a seminar and issue a notification, but Municipal Hall’s intention is to move those warehouses and factories out of the city and along the third ring road,” he said.

Institute for Road Safety deputy director Kong Ratanak said relocating large warehouses to outside the city will greatly improve Phnom Penh’s traffic and road safety. But he cautioned that the authorities need to be vigilant in implementing the new regulations.

“It’s a good move if some large warehouses relocate to the ring road, but there have been many other bans and regulations that only last for a short time and were later ineffective with people failing to comply with them,” he said.

Ratanak said the reason large vehicles can still travel into the city during restricted hours is due to weak and ineffective policing by local authorities.

Phnom Penh police chief Sar Thet said the police regularly detain large trucks if they violate the ban and hold the vehicles in locations around the capital.

“There was a problem of a lack of space to keep the confiscated vehicles, but now we have found places where we can keep them. One holding area is located in Mean Chey district and the other is in Sen Sok district."

“We continue to strictly enforce the law until 9pm, when large trucks are allowed to travel into the city,” he said.