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Gridlock going nowhere fast

Gridlock going nowhere fast

Traffic pulses along a main road at rush hour in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Despite Phnom Penh’s rapidly increasing traffic woes, it might take until 2035 for a public transport system in the Kingdom’s capital to be operational, government development partners said yesterday.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency, which has been working with Cambodia’s government since 2001 on an urban transport master plan, said yesterday further feasibility and data studies being undertaken would not be completed until 2014.

“The target year [for implementation] is 2035,” Seng Solady, JICA’s communications officer, said yesterday.

“[However], some projects may be implemented after the master plan is completed in 2014.”

According to JICA project documents obtained by the Post, traffic and transport conditions in Phnom Penh have become worse because of the rapid increase in the number of vehicles and motorbikes.

“The traffic problems . . . are diversified and cause many problems to the economic, environmental and living condition of urban residents,” the project document states.

“If this situation is left untouched, the traffic situation in Phnom Penh will soon reach a level that can hamper the desired economic growth and livelihood of the citizens.”

Phnom Penh deputy governor Chreang Sophan, who is working on the project, said the study stage was of the utmost importance.

“Phnom Penh has been developing fast, so the traffic situation is complicated. We, too, want to ease the traffic congestion,” he said.

Ministry of Public Works director-general of public transport Ung Chun Huor said the government was “worried” about the capital’s growing traffic problems.  

“As the number of people increases and the economy grows, the number of vehicles will increase,” he said.

“A good solution is to have public transport.”

Phnom Penh deputy traffic police chief Chev Hak said the city needed to quickly find a solution for its traffic congestion problem.


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