Ambitious flyover dreams held back

As the opening date for the first of three new flyovers in Yangon nears, government officials admit they will not be a panacea to the city’s traffic woes, but say the government lacks the budget to build more ambitious infrastructure.

The Kokkine flyover on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, one of the city’s two main thoroughfares, will open on February 12. Its construction, in tandem with two other flyovers, has been a headache to commuters, who have been diverted through narrow side streets.

U Kyaw Soe, Yangon Region minister for forestry and energy, admitted last month that building flyovers will not solve Yangon’s growing congestion problem.

“A true solution would involve building multi-level flyovers above the traffic, to do away with traffic lights and with traffic jams. Simple flyovers can only meet with so much success,” he said.

In the 2016 budget year, Yangon Region government called a tender for private companies to build three flyovers – Capital Development is building at Kokkine, Crown Advanced Construction is building another at 8 Mile and Shwe Taung Company is building the third in Tarmwe.

The previous year, four flyovers were built, at Hledan, Bayingnaung, Myaynigone and Shwegonedaing.

While their construction leads to temporary congestion these flyovers are a stopgap – without them traffic jams would be worse than they are now, U Kyaw Soe said. Moreover, he said, the budget does not stretch far beyond this temporary solution.

“The cost of building a multi-layered flyover is around the same as the entire annual budget for the Yangon Region government. We are doing our best to solve the problem with limited resources,” he said.

The local government was allocated K120 billion last budget year and is likely to receive less this year, he said, while such a flyover would cost around K110 billion to build.

“If we use the whole budget for flyovers, we wouldn’t have enough left to spend on other sectors,” he said. The four flyovers built in fiscal year 2015 cost K74.525 billion and the three under construction cost K52.27 billion.

The first phase of Shwe Taung’s flyover at Tarmwe is due for completion in April before the New Year festival, according to U Sein Win, the project’s engineer.

“At first, we estimated the construction time would be 16 months for both Phase 1 and 2 but now we think it will take around 10 months and will be finished in April, assuming the Yangon Region government gives the green light for cars to cross the bridge,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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