As Phnom Penh City continues to develop, many projects have been implemented such as the drainage system improvements, the waste management improvements, and the public transportation plan. Similarly, the government has also focused on road development in the city as some roads that were already constructed are damaged and others need to be expanded. According to City Hall’s 2011 data, the total length of the roads in the capital was 1,379,487 meters consisting of three different types: 215,286 meters of AC road, 279,753 meters of DBST roads, and 206,730 meters of concrete road.
Right now, there are many roads being repaved such as the Chamka Dong road. This road was built more than once already after being damaged by heavy trucks beyond the road’s capacity. Other roads in the center of city are also being reconstructed due to the drainage renovation. For example, street 63 between Sihanouk Boulevard and street 158 was fixed again in 2013 after being ripped up by the drainage project supported by The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Similarly, Hanoi Street that was first built in 2004 with the budget of 300,000 USD from Vietnamese government and 220,000 USD from Phnom Penh City Hall is also being repaved.
The three ring road projects were brought into discussion in 2011. The first ring road was constructed near Chroy Chang Va Bridge and linked to Road No. 70 up to Road No. 271 and linked to Preah Monivong Bridge. The second ring road is from Kilometer No. 9 of National Road 5 to Kilometer No. 12 of National Road 1 at Prek Ek and linked to National Road 6A at Svay Chrom ferry port, which is connected to National Road 1 in Sangkat Prek Ek. The third ring road is to be constructed from Prek Pnov bridge of National Road 5 to Kilometer No. 24 of National Road 1 in Dey Eth commune in Kien Svay District. This road would link back to Prek Pnov Bridge. During the discussion back in 2011, City Hall fully supported the first and second ring road projects as they fell under the 2020 Master Plan of Phnom Penh City. However, they have suggested that the third ring road project should be reviewed by the Department of Land Management, Urbanization, Construction and Cadastral and the Department of Public Works and Transport regarding its demographic impacts and cost estimation before implementation.
Road construction and maintenance in Phnom Penh is vital for a number of reasons such as:
- Quality of life
It is important that all roads, if possible, are smooth and in good condition because every resident uses them. It is really stressful to commute to work every day when you have to avoid potholes and flooding. Unfortunately, some Phnom Penh residents experience this everyday, especially during the rainy season. One small example of this is that some drivers have to avoid travelling on Street 1019 connecting Street 2004 because it is so poorly maintained that small cars find it difficult to drive on. Good road conditions also increases road safety and eases traffic congestion.
2. Land value
Road conditions are also a big factor in determining the value of a particular area in the city. Normally, any areas with good roads are higher in value compared to those with roads that are barely accessible. Land prices usually go up when road conditions are improved because people would like to live there. For example, it is believed those living in the Chamka Dong area will have more valuable land when the road construction finishes.
3. Development barrier
One real estate company posted an article saying that poor infrastructure hinders Phnom Penh’s construction growth. This includes ineffective waste management, lack of parking lots, pothole-ridden streets. Poor road conditions pose a barrier for development, as foreign and local investors feel insecure to invest in such areas. Construction projects such as condominiums and housing are usually undertaken in areas where there are plans for road improvements from the government. This shows that proper infrastructure in the city expedites development by providing a good investment environment.
To sum up, roadwork is crucial element for the development and growth of the city as well as the country. Good roads make life easier, connect people from place to place, and enable faster transportation, which improves production flow. Because of its significance, it is recommended that the government put more focus on building high quality roads to keep up with the rapid development of Phnom Penh.
Hanoi Road being reconstructed