Angkor Wat Western Causeway-Dike:
In 2000, when Sophia University began restoring the northeast corner of the western entrance causeway-dike to Angkor Wat, 450,000 visitors used this access to the temple every year; 15 years later, this number is approaching 4.5 million visitors. The future organization of the restoration work on the northwest section will therefore require a different approach today.
The major problem is that of the cohabitation of this new work site with the increasing flows of visitors. Different options may be considered in order to resolve this problem:
10.1 For visitor access, use the southern lane of the causeway-dike while work is underway on the northern lane. That has the disadvantage of narrowing the leftover passageway for visitors, both going in and coming out of the temple. It would mean having visitors wait a long time right at the point where they would step on to the causeway-dike. There is already a conflict with the vehicular traffic now going by that location. This option would seemingly only be feasible if vehicular traffic was immediately prohibited in the approach area and all vehicles were required to take the only bypass road to be put into use outside the temple approach area, and make the this approach area into a strictly pedestrian zone.
10.2 Completely close off the western causeway during operations and transferring the main temple entrance to its eastern causeway. That would have a major disadvantage because of inadequate parking lots on that eastern side; there would likewise be no services for visitors (boutiques, restaurants, toilets, etc.). So that doesn’t appear feasible right now.
10.3 In line with the solution proposed by Sophia University, build a passageway parallel to the causeway-dike, immediately to the south of it. That would have a major esthetic impact on the overall presentation of the monument. But it would have the advantage of handling optimally the cohabitation between the work site operations and visitor traffic, thereby separating clearly and safely these two parallel activities. In this scenario, the obvious issue to be dealt with is how this temporary passageway is built. It must have no impact whatsoever on the soil of the moat bottom due to its possible archeological interest. The new temporary setup, could rest on the moat bottom, but must not disturb it. Two engineering approaches can be considered, either a metal structure or a temporary dike with sand fill. In either case, the level of water in the moat must be carefully monitored. The expert group recommends that if this third option for temple access is selected, special attention be given to a sand-fill construction, making it fit as esthetically as possible into the immediate environment of the monument.
10.4 The ad hoc group of experts has proposed that a fourth option be looked into that would involve putting in an independent liaison access not in the immediate vicinity of the historic causeway-dike, with the impact that such would have on the general image of the monument, but rather further to the south, with a straight causeway, made of sand or metal structure (scaffolding tube) and crossing the moat across from the southern Elephant Gate on the western gallery of the temple.
At its other end, this new provisional access causeway, of proper size and having safety handrails, could easily be connected to the existing Angkor Wat approach area with its current facilities already set up, including parking lots, shops, restaurants and other services.
For the sake of efficiency, this project will require the use of cranes. Sophia University has proposed a setup that appears satisfactory and that would make it possible to supply the work site while ensuring the safety of visitors nearby.
However, due to the aesthetic impact of the project on this major world heritage monument, the six-year time frame that Sophia University has in mind for this project appears difficult to approve. Therefore, the ad hoc group of experts recommends that Sophia University and the APSARA National Authority, as project operators, do everything possible to optimize this time frame and cut delivery time to no more than four years. Option 4 above appears to be the most feasible one to achieve these goals.