Rangoon Plans Another Flyover to Relieve Traffic Congestion

By Zarni Mann 23 June 2014

The government has announced plans to construct a new flyover in Rangoon’s Insein Township that will allow cars to pass over the railway track and relieve busy traffic in the area, state-run media reported.

The project will construct a new two-lane flyover that will cost about US$6 million, Myo Zaw Too, engineer at Myanmar Railways Bridge Depot was quoted as telling The New Light of Myanmar. The flyover will be constructed parallel to an old, smaller flyover, which will now become a one-lane bridge.

The paper reported that the flyover will be completed by April 2015.

Myo Zaw Too, senior engineer of Myanmar Railway’s bridge deport said that the old bridge is too narrow and causes traffic jams at the area, especially at the junction of Insein-Rangoon road.

The busiest road in Insein, connecting Hlaing Tharyar Township to the west of Rangoon with the rest of the city, crosses the old flyover.

In recent years, traffic congestions had worsened in Rangoon due to a sharp increase in the number of cars after the government lifted import restrictions on cars that were in place under the former military regime.

Several major infrastructure projects were completed last year, including three flyovers, at Hledan, Shwe Gone Dine and Bayint Naung, in order to relieve the traffic congestions. In February, Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) announced plans for another overhead crossing at Myaynigone junction.

“We were told that the two flyovers in Insein and Myaynigone junction will be built within this fiscal year,” said parliamentarian Hla Swe, who asked the President’s Office Deputy Minister Aung Thein about the projects last week.

Hla Swe criticized the government’s approach to infrastructure development in Rangoon, saying that authorities were pushing ahead with a few big projects without developing an overall master plan for the city’s urban planning and traffic flow.

“The government has no city plans and town plans so that it could not solve the traffic jams,” he claimed, adding that instead the cash-strapped city should “build interconnecting roads and a network of flyovers all at the same time.” Hla Swe did not explain where the funding for his plans could come from.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has drawn up a 852-page Yangon Master Plan, which advises that 103 “priority projects” are built in Rangoon at US$5.4 billion, the city’s long-term transformation will cost tens of billions more, Reuters reported last year.

However, YCDC has a budget of only $56 million, the report said, adding that Chicago, a city with half the population, passed a $6.5 billion budget in 2012.

A local urban planner said more parking spaces are the solution to Rangoon’s traffic problems, adding that creating more parking space in the busy downtown area would be a good idea.

“That’s why people use to park their vehicle at their will and this is one reason which cause the traffic jams. It is also necessary to build parking lot, especially in the busiest part of the city,” said the urban planner who asked not to be named because she was not authorized to talk to the media.

A taxi driver from North Okkalapa Township named Arkar Kyaw said it was the traffic users who are causing the traffic congestion problems.

“Most of the drivers, especially taxi drivers, never follow the traffic rules. They would U-turn on a one-way road and they would never give chance for other drivers who want to go through from small lane. And near the schools and markets area, the roads were blocked for the drivers park their cars are double parked.”