15. BYPASS ROAD ALONG THE TERRACE OF THE ELEPHANTS:
This project is to cut off automobile traffic on the road going along the Royal Palace, the Terrance of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King and put in, to the east of it, a new road skirting the Prasat Suor Prat Towers, as recommended at the 30th Technical Session in June 2018.
We were given a quick overview of this major project in situ, and we feel it must be looked into again.
The group of experts would like to make some preliminary remarks:
a) Putting in a new roadway to reduce automobile traffic in the immediate surroundings of the Royal Palace and relocating the chaotic shops to the other side of the parking lot is a necessity. We welcome that decision because the change will enable the terraces to be used again as a giant platform for the holding of royal ceremonies.
b) Consultation of the archives and various studies, as well as archaeologists who have worked on Angkor Thom and on the original layout of the service roads out of its five gates, would nevertheless seem to be necessary upstream from any decision. It would be important not to commit a historical blooper by putting in two parallel lanes on the site.
c) Putting in such a bypass road as proposed should for now only be an interim measure, in other words keeping the right-of-way and treating the roadbed in its current state, pending the study of an alternative solution for a roadway further away from the Royal Palace, such as to the east, beyond the temples, as mentioned earlier.
d) That consideration regarding the roadway must be in step with the thinking process regarding relocation of the chaotic shops in front of the Preah Pithu temples (see specific recommendation), thus making sure that the space all along the Royal Palace is unspoiled, free of parking and business activities.
e) The project must also include a study of the surface finish of the roadway, avoiding the use of an asphalt material that would citify the roadway and make it too far out of sync with the traditional environment of the temples. Using a material of light-colored cement and local aggregates would make it possible to better merge the new lanes visually.