“The completion date has now been set for October 15, 2016 – if the weather, especially heavy rain, does not affect construction in the meantime,” Mr Chalermpon told The Phuket News on Friday (Sept 23).
“There will be no grand opening,” he said bluntly.
Mr Chalermpon noted that only the final finishing touches to the underpass needed completing.
“Street lights have already been installed and traffic lights are now regulating traffic flow through the intersection,” he said.
“Only the last of the road surfacing and the painting of lane markers remain to be done,” he added.
One lane southbound past Tesco Lotus has been surfaced and is now open to traffic while workers complete surfacing of the second lane there.
With that southbound lane open, and with the installation of traffic lights at the junction, motorists heading east from Kathu can now turn right onto the bypass road and continue south towards the Darasamuth intersection, Mr Chalermpon explained.
Previously, for months, they had to turn north onto the bypass road, make a u-turn more than a kilometre down the road, then come back.
“Similarly, traffic coming from Phuket Town heading west to Kathu can now safely pass directly through the intersection – as the traffic lights will signal for other vehicles passing through the junction to stop and give way,” Mr Chalermpon said.
Traffic heading southbound can still turn right towards Kathu at the junction, but now must wait for the traffic lights, he added.
Meanwhile, Mr Chalermpon called on drivers to obey traffic law and not risk their lives while driving through the roadwork zone.
“Please, don’t drive in wrong direction at the work site,” he said. “I don’t want people to be hurt, especially from their own wrongdoing, and if you break the traffic law, you will have a problem with the police.”
Construction of the beleaguered underpass began three years ago, but has since encountered delay after delay – drawing much criticism from high-ranging officials – and is now set to be complete more than 18 months behind schedule.