Flyovers Not Effective Solution to Rangoon’s Traffic Woes

By Thu Zar 25 March 2016

RANGOON — The construction of flyovers has not been an effective solution to ever-worsening traffic woes in Rangoon, said lawmakers at the first regular session of the Rangoon Division parliament on Thursday.

As parliament debated the Rangoon Division’s planning draft law for the 2016-17 fiscal year, MP Yan Shin, from Rangoon’s Mayangone Township, said that he still sees long queues of cars at the existing flyovers.

“Building flyovers is costly, and can’t fully solve the traffic problem,” Yan Shin told the regional parliament.

Assessment reports of planning and budget draft laws for the upcoming fiscal year, submitted by the Finance, Planning and Economics committee, called for reconsideration of a plan to build two additional flyovers: one at the junction of Kaba Aye Pagoda and Parami roads, and the other in North Okkalapa Township.

Lawmaker Sandar Min, the chairwoman of the Finance, Planning and Economics committee, said the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) Greater Yangon Strategic Urban Development Plan would not mesh with the existing flyovers. The long-term joint initiative between JICA and the Burmese government aims to develop infrastructure needed to make Rangoon more livable by 2040.

“Our reports point out why the new government shouldn’t build more flyovers. Building flyovers may be a short-term solution for traffic congestion, but looking into the more distant future, it will mean the government has to incur double the costs,” said Sandar Min, referring to flyovers that may later be demolished if they can’t exist in tandem with the proposed infrastructure improvements in the Greater Yangon Strategic Urban Development Plan.

Lawmaker Yan Aung, representing Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township, has also stressed the need to spend public funds appropriately.

“If flyovers were to be demolished because of multilevel road and bridge construction in the Greater Yangon project, those public funds need to be spent systematically. Those flyovers were built with people’s hard-earned money,” he said.

According to the Rangoon Division government, a total of seven flyovers, including the recently opened 8 Mile junction and one currently under construction at Tamwe junction, were constructed at a cost of over $130 billion kyat (over US$100 million) during outgoing President Thein Sein’s five-year term, which began in 2011.

This article was translated by Thet Ko Ko.