By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
DRIVERS of heavy vehicles expressed concern yesterday about the impact of a newly introduced toll along a road with numerous old bridges in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district, saying it could cut into their bottom line.
On Monday, traffic police began handing out fines of between 5,000 and 10,000 riel (US$1.25-$2.50) to drivers of vehicles weighing more than 15 tonnes or carrying more than their legal capacity. The tolls cover the use of National Road 21, which had previously been free.
Ty Sarith, a 29-year-old truck driver, said he had been using the road for free to transport cargo for more than three years.
“I’m wondering why I’m forced to pay for this crossing. My vehicle weight is only two-and-a-half tonnes, and does not [have a significant] impact on roads or bridges in this area,” he said. He added that the new charges could make it hard to support himself.
“I think that if I’m required to pay for road or bridge crossings, I will not gain benefits from my transporting services,” he said.
Tith Sopheak, a police official operating a weighing station along the road, said the toll was introduced in an attempt to prevent overloaded vehicles from ruining the roads.
“We have not forced them to pay the money on purpose,” he said, adding that bridges in the area could also be damaged by overladen vehicles.
“The reason why we decided to require vehicles or truck drivers to be weighed before crossing the bridges is because they have been carrying overloaded cargoes that are more than the bridges’ capacity.”