The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry is planning to introduce a revised ordinance regulating highways to minimize the impact of new roads on the environment, ministry sources said Saturday.

The draft of the ordinance stipulates that major roads in urban areas must in principle be paved with water-permeable asphalt to allow rainwater to pass through them and reduce traffic noise, according to the sources.

Also, roads subject to heavy traffic will be required to have green belts, the sources said, adding that the ordinance, based on the Road Law, sets minimum standards for construction of new roads or repair work.

The ministry expects the draft to be endorsed by the Cabinet next Friday and to go into effect from July 1.

The revised ordinance also requires that main arteries be equipped with sidewalks and bicycle lanes on both sides, according to the sources.

For roads where sidewalks and bicycle lanes are combined, the ordinance states that the lane be at least 4 meters wide where there are many pedestrians and wider near overpasses to allow wheelchair access.

The ordinance also allows one-lane roads in residential areas to zigzag to slow down speeding vehicles in order to protect pedestrians.

The ministry put off the revision related to construction of vehicle-only roads, which are believed to be effective in alleviating traffic jams.

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