Friday, August 18, 2017

8 Mile flyover plan scrapped

Plans for a flyover at 8 Mile junction have been scrapped because a traffic monitoring system has made it unnecessary, an official says.

Cars pass through 8 Mile junction in Mayangone last week. (Thiri/The Myanmar Times)Cars pass through 8 Mile junction in Mayangone last week. (Thiri/The Myanmar Times)

The system allows traffic police to monitor traffic flows and adjust the lights at the busy Mayangone township junction to clear backed up traffic. It came online on December 8, said U Htun Aung Thin from the Ministry of Rail Transportation, which is also responsible for road transport.

The system was bought and installed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under a traffic management pilot project.

“Previously we intended to build a flyover but after conducting a survey about six months JICA recommended this system … we found out it can clear traffic jams quickly,” U Htun Aung Thin said.

Sensors have been installed on the traffic lights to monitor vehicles, he said.

“The detector can see where vehicles are on the traffic lanes and [give a green light] to the lanes where many vehicles are waiting.

“It can be set to automatic or manual operation. There are four traffic police supervising the junction.”

Police Lieutenant Moe Thi Ha Kyaw from the Traffic Police Force said the system was a step forward but would not solve all of the traffic flow problems in the area. More investment is needed to improve efficiency, he said.

“We hope to establish a control centre to monitor and resolve traffic jams," he said.

The centre would be able to watch traffic through CCTV cameras and control lights to alleviate congestion. While JICA has offered to train officials to run the centre, it is not clear where the funding for the project would come from.

Road users said the new measures have had a noticeable impact on traffic flow at the junction.

“I noticed about two days ago that traffic jams were smaller at 8 Mile junction,” said taxi driver U Myo Min from Mingalardon township. “I don't know how they did it but I’m pleased whenever the traffic jams are smaller. I hope they can replicate this at other junctions.”