While conducting his inspection, Ombudsman Raksagecha confirmed that the contractor had accepted to pay B200 million as a fine for completing the project more than 20 months past the original deadline.
“I have come down here again because of I have received many complaints from people reporting that . the construction made it dangerous to drive on the roads,” he said.
Mr Raksagecha pointed out that this was his third inspection of the underpass site. “I came down here to inspect this project in January, in April and now September,” he said.
“This project has been overdue since June 2015, which has affected driver’s safety on the road. The delays have been caused by things such as workers pausing construction for major holidays, and the heavy rain has not helped. I believe people will understand these reasons,” Mr Raksagecha said.
“I know the Highways Department has been trying hard to follow up on the construction, and while this project has been underway the construction company changed its board, but they still had to accept the B200-million fine for the late completion.”
Mr Raksagecha said he, too, was looking forward to the project finally reaching completion.
“Phuket people will love to use this underpass to reduce the traffic jam. Some of the complaints I have received from people said that they spend more time on the road than on the beach. I get it,” he laughed.
Asked seriously when he expected the never-ending construction to actually end, Mr Raksagecha said, “I have spoken with the Phuket Highways Department, and at this stage I think it will be safe to say that it will be completed by the end of October.”
Before Ombudsman Raksagecha arrived at the Sam Kong Underpass site, Phuket Highways Office Project Engineer Chalermpon Wongkietkun told The Phuket News, “I really want to finish this project as fast as possible.”
In speaking with Mr Raksagecha, Mr Chalermpon said, “The road in the tunnel is finished. There are only little things left to do with this project.”
Mr Chalermpon told The Phuket News only last week that he expected to finish the project by October 15 – a deadline he set as “final”… as long as no further delays were brought on by heavy rain. (See story here.)
Mr Raksagecha noted that the next Phuket projects he will turn his attention to will be complaints filed about the two flyovers to be built on Thepkrasattri Rd at a cost of B200 million. (See story here.)