No one batted an eye when the barriers went up ahead of the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting, but weeks later, residents are scratching their heads as to why they’re still being forced to detour around a nearly kilometer-long stretch of Sothearos Boulevard that runs in front of the Royal Palace.
The answer, it turns out, is simple: the king is not a fan of the noise.
Heng Chantheary, director of Phnom Penh’s municipal traffic office, told the Post yesterday that the closure of the road was made following a proposal paper from deputy prime minister and Royal Palace minister Kong Sam Ol.
“In the proposal, Kong Sam Ol gave the explanation about the closure of road, that the noise pollution from the vehicles at day and night causes disturbance for the king,” he said.
Tuk-tuk driver Van Doeun, who spoke to the Post while waiting for tourists emerging from the Royal Palace, expressed chagrin that the road had been blocked for more than a month, adding that the traffic being diverted onto Sisowath Quay was creating a tangle.
“I don’t know why they closed it, but based on my observation, the place frequently faces traffic congestion, especially during rush hour every Saturday and Sunday evening,” he said.
Unfortunately for Van Doeun, not to mention the rest of Phnom Penh, there are no plans to re-open it any time soon. Chantheary said the road will remain closed until there is a written request to re-open it.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at [email protected]