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Phnom Penh Mulling New Highway to Airport


University students are helping to study the number of cars moving along Monivong and Sihanouk boulevards. (Photo: Phorn Bopha/VOA Khmer)

University students are helping to study the number of cars moving along Monivong and Sihanouk boulevards. (Photo: Phorn Bopha/VOA Khmer)

About “70 percent” of the people polled want a toll road and would be willing to pay up to $2 to use it.

Phnom Penh is studying the prospect of a toll highway to run from the capital to Phnom Penh International Airport, a dangerous stretch of road that kills many people each year.

Long Dimanche, a spokesman for the city, said the new highway would decrease traffic congestion and save lives. A feasibility study is under way, he said. “If the project works, it would be great,” he said.

Long Phanith, a student at the Institute of Technology, whose group was surveying traffic for the project, said about 100 students from various universities have been asked to help study the number of cars moving along Monivong and Sihanouk boulevards.

About “70 percent” of the people they meet want a toll road, he said, and would be willing to pay up to $2 to use it. Others would prefer the state pay the costs.

Traffic accidents across the country cost Cambodia around 2,000 lives and $300 million a year, though fatalities have decreased this year compared to last.

Ear Chariya, a traffic consultant, said a toll road could indeed ease traffic congestion, but it would mean vehicles traveling at higher speeds, so it would not necessarily save lives.

“It could increase the danger,” he said. “The drivers’ knowledge is still low. They do not have driving know-how.”

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