Overpasses fail to solve Yangon’s traffic congestion

Yangon authorities are being criticised for the costly construction of overpasses, as traffic snarl is getting worse in Myanmar’s biggest city though three overpasses are completed.

“Some overpasses are completed but traffic jam is here. The government can do better,” lamented MP Dr Nyo Nyo Thin of Bahan Township Constituency (2).

It is reported that there are 400,000 vehicles in the city, where roads cannot be extended. Late 2011, the city considered construction of overpasses at locations experiencing worst jams like Hledan, Shwegondaing, Bayintnaung and Tamwe. At the end, the plan for the first three circles went through. The construction contracts were awarded to Shwetaung Co (Hledan), Capital Development Co (Shwegondaing), and FMI Co (Bayintnaung).

With the construction works starting in February 2012, the Hledan overpass was completed in April 2013. The works on Bayintnaung overpass started in June 2012 for completion in October 2013. The works on Shwegondaing overpass started in December 2012 for completion in December 2013.

As they have failed to ease traffic, fingers were pointed at Yangon administration. It was criticised of having no proper research on the number of vehicles on the locations and awarding the contracts to companies close to people in the government circle.

“The construction cost a lot of money. The overpasses just pass over crowded areas while they should be longer in distance, like in neighbouring countries. Traffic remains terrible while benefits fall to the contractors,” said a retired officer of City Development Department who asked not to be named.

Yangon Region government prepares another overpass at Maynigone with a budget of Ks 16.928 billion. Capital Development won the contract.

U Kyaw, an MP of regional parliament from Thingungyun Township, suggested that the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) step in.

The city’s plan to introduce a bus rapid system also draws criticism. The project is awarded to Batsone Myinkwin Co, a company owned by a grandson of former dictator Ne Win. It now operates Mittahlaing buses in the city. Experts commented that the bus system needs a special road lane, which is impossible in Yangon.


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