Commuters using Kabar Aye Pagoda Road to travel downtown will face 11 months of delays while the Shwegondaing flyover is built, the company building the bridge said last week.
A Capital Development Limited press release issued on Wednesday, December 12 after a ground breaking ceremony at 8:46am said that when the flyover is finished it will allow traffic travelling north-south to bypass the heavily congested Shwegondaing intersection.
The ceremony was attended by Yangon Region Chief Minister U Myint Swe, chairman of Yangon Region Hluttaw U Sein Tin Win, Yangon Mayor U Hla Myint, Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) departmental heads and other officials.
U Aye Thaw, the company’s project director, said surveying work was completed months ago.
“We’ve been doing pre-survey work since May, following instructions from the Myanmar Investment Commission and YCDC,” he said. “The Shwegondaing junction is heavily congested and the roads are narrow at that point, which is why we’ve consulted with design experts from Japan-based JFE Engineering Corporation to guarantee quality control, reduce the construction period and limit the impact on the environment,” he said.
The 420-metre-long four-lane flyover will sit 5.5m above the ground. It will start on the south side near the Jivatadana Sangha hospital and end about 70m north of Excel tower on the northern side of the intersection, he said.
U Aye Thaw added that the flyover will be for vehicles only and no walkway has been included for pedestrians. It will be able to support vehicles weighing up to 60 tonnes, he said, adding that the predicted cost is about K13 billion (about US$15.4 million) and the flyover is likely to be finished by late 2013.
U Aye Thaw said the median strip on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road in front of Excel Tower had been removed to make way for the flyover. He also said YCDC plans to widen some nearby thoroughfares, such as U Chit Maung and Bahan Gyar Taw Ya roads to ease congestion during the construction period.
U Aung, a 40-year old taxi driver who usually waits for passengers near Excel Tower, said the traffic congestion is the worst he has seen in the area.
“I’ve worked in this area for nearly five years as a taxi driver and the traffic is terrible these days. And the Shwegondaing Junction is one of the worst in the city,” he said.
“I’m glad they are building a flyover or it would only get worse.”
U Aung said the roads are unable to cope with the increased traffic.
A 36-year-old grocery store owner in a backstreet behind Excel Tower said the flyover was necessary.
“I’ve lived for 11 years near Shwegondaing and I welcome the flyover project because it will ease traffic congestion,” he said.
“Many vehicles pass through this junction every day and it’s chaotic and unsafe, especially when you’re walking,” he said.
He added that Shwegondaing is a critical route out of the downtown area to suburbs to the north and east and described the flyover as “essential”.
“Building a bridge in this area will be better for drivers and residents,” he said.