Asean Summit: Phnom Penh’s Traffic Plan

Phnom Penh traffic restrictions and detours for November 10-13.
(VOD illustration)

Phnom Penh will divert private vehicles away from four arterial roads in the capital from Thursday to Sunday as part of traffic management for the Asean Summit, City Hall said.

The summit, set to host leaders from the 10 Asean member states as well as China, Japan, the U.S. and several other countries, will be held at the Sokha Hotel on the capital’s Chroy Changva peninsula.

The main bridge to the peninsula, as well as the major roads to the bridge and to the airport, are the focus of City Hall’s traffic management plans as dignitaries and their staff come and go.

Roads

City Hall outlined detours for four key arterial roads:

  • Russian Federation Blvd.: Vehicles entering Phnom Penh from the west will be diverted at the Choam Chao flyover near the airport.
  • Norodom Blvd.: Traffic will be diverted onto St. 63 and Sisowath Quay along the riverside.
  • Monivong Blvd.: Those entering Monivong from the south, near the Chbar Ampov bridge, will be diverted onto St. 271. Those at the north end of the road, near the Chroy Changva bridge, will be diverted west onto St. 70. Vehicles approaching the bridge eastward on St. 70 will be diverted north and south toward Phsar Samhan and onto City Center Blvd.
  • National Road 6: Traffic approaching Phnom Penh from the northeast will be diverted onto Win-Win Blvd. Traffic within the Chroy Changva peninsula will be diverted to use the bridge near the “mermaid” roundabout.

Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng clarified that the road restrictions would begin on Thursday, even as some dignitaries begin arriving Wednesday.

Municipal police traffic chief Chev Hak noted that there would be time between convoys when vehicles can cross the restricted roads and people living or working along them can be let in.

“We cannot shut it down to prevent them from going to their homes, but when there is a delegation’s convoy passing, they need to wait. And when the convoy has passed, they will be let in,” Hak said.

Waterways

City Hall said ferries and tourist boats would not be allowed on the Tonle Sap and upper Mekong river from November 6 through Sunday.

The ferry terminal on Chroy Changva outside the Sokha Hotel would be closed.

However, ferries crossing the Mekong a little further south to Akei Ksat would continue, but with the terminal on the Phnom Penh side moved slightly southeast to Koh Pich.

City Hall added that flying kites and drones was strictly prohibited, and that sand dredging activities on the rivers would be put on hold.

Disruptions

Daun Penh district police chief Teang Chansa said there would not be total road closures, and downplayed the expected disruptions for the public.

“We ask them to cooperate with us when there is a convoy. It will be a normal process,” Chansa said. “There will be no impact on people’s living.”

By Tuesday, some summit-related traffic activity could already be seen. In the morning, traffic on Russian Federation Blvd. was stopped for several minutes as a car surrounded by a guard of motorcycles with flashing lights passed. Near Wat Botum, small barricades were set up blocking people around the park, which hosts the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Monument.

Kong Ratanak, a former director of the Institute for Road Safety, said many Cambodians would likely avoid Phnom Penh altogether during this Water Festival holiday week — especially with students having received extra school holidays — but that congestion was nevertheless inevitable.

“There will be congestion because of the diverting of traffic as key routes are closed. We will wait and see together,” Ratanak said. “Basically, it will impact commuters, but we need to understand the situation as the head of Asean and the country’s image. … This is an honor, and it will show the world our people’s behavior.”

Aside from vendors and civil servants, many city residents would likely stay in their home provinces, he said.

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