Phuket flyover plan bashed
PHUKET: Three proposed designs for flyovers to alleviate traffic jams at the north end of the bypass road are all likely to face staunch opposition from the local tourism industry, concerned at the lengthy construction period, air pollution from construction and the aesthetics of the finished project.
Wednesday 10 August 2011, 11:19AM
At a public meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall today, Kasame Sriwarana, a civil engineer in the Highways Department explained that the flyover would relieve traffic congestion.
Three schemes were proposed: a “Y-type” scheme with a tri-directional overpass above the intersection, a “Trumpet-type” scheme with two loop ramps on the east side of the intersection, and a straight overpass taking through traffic from the north into Sapam.
“These are the three common types of overpass that have been used in Thailand,” Kaweerat Deeprasertwong, the flyover project manager said.
However, the feedback from local tourism businesses was generally negative; most were worried that a massive concrete construction would damage Phuket’s image.
“This huge construction will be an eyesore,” said Sarayut Mallam, Vice President of the Phuket Tourist Association (PTA).
“These may be the three most common types of overpass in Thailand, but we don’t think any of them suits Phuket at all. Phuket doesn’t need flyovers sprouting from the ground. We’re sure that visitors don’t expect to see that sort of thing here.”
Others quailed at the thought of two years of dust and noise while the flyover is built.
Bhuritt Maswongssa, another Vice President of the PTA, pointed that only one flyover wouldn’t totally relieve traffic problems.
“I want to see the Highways Department looking at a total solution for the entire system. Instead of just building overpasses, why don’t we look at making each high-density area more accessible?” he asked.
Vichit Na Ranong, managing director of the Pearl Group and a former president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, described the project as “an achievement that will bring failure”. He also pointed out that a flyover would leave no space for the much-desired light rail system.
“An underpass would be a better solution,” Mr Sarayut suggested. The Department’s engineers said that underground construction would block existing water drainage, which might cause floods in the future.
However, the Highways Department people said they would analyse the feedback from the meeting to try to work out a solution that solves the traffic problem and meet with general approval.
A revised proposal will be presented to Phuket authorities and relevant people from the private sector next month.
Mr Vichit reminded them, “You can get as big a budget as you like, but it will never be big enough to resurrect Phuket’s damaged environment. We should consider the most sustainable solution.”