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Sam Kong Underpass: Over and out - late fines set to breach B570mn, project engineer looking to leave Phuket

PHUKET: The completion of the Sam Kong Underpass later this month, more than 18 months beyond its original deadline, will not be marked by any ceremony – official or unofficial – with the lead project engineer overseeing the B834-million project vowing to leave Phuket.

transport, construction, economics,

The Phuket News

Saturday 8 October 2016, 10:01AM

The completion, however, will mark the calculation of the final fine to be paid by the contractor, Vivat Construction Co Ltd, which in accordance with the government tender is to be calculated at B2 million for each day late in finishing the project.

Project Engineer Chalermpon Wongkietkun of the Phuket Highways Office, who was assigned to oversee the project, expects the last of the finishing touches to be complete by October 30. If that holds true, Vivat Construction stands to be fined some B570 million, Mr Chalermpon confirmed on Wednesday (Oct 5).

“The company will have to pay a fine of about B2 million per day, effective from January 20, when the contract extension expired,” Mr Chalermpon said.

“Yes, they will have to pay about B570 million in total after the project is completed on October 30… I have no information of when or how they will pay this hefty fine. It is up to our accounting staff and the Highways Department to figure that out.

“After the project is completed, the construction work will be under two-years guarantee by Vivat Construction Co Ltd and the project will still be under the responsibility of the Phuket Highways Office,” he added.

The completion is not to be marked by any form of celebration, Mr Chalermpon assured.

“We will have no opening ceremony whatsoever. What’s the point? The road is already open for the public to use and I do not want to hear any more criticism about this project,” he said.

“It’s has been a long and tough time for us working on this project. To have another public announcement or opening ceremony would be a disgrace.”

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The stress of overseeing project has taken an exhausting personal toll, Mr Chalermpon noted. “I will move out of Phuket as soon as the project is completed. To tell the truth, I am tired,” he said.

“I can hardly wait for this project to be completed. I am emotionally exhausted from the harsh criticism from local residents. During the construction, whatever issues we ran into, big or small, we were bombarded with complaints and criticism,” Mr Chalermpon added.

The most recent criticism came on Monday after very heavy rains – some 80mm of rainfall in one day – saw floodwaters rise inside in the tunnel. While doubts were raised as to the effectiveness of the pumps installed to clear such floodwaters from the underpass, Mr Chalermpon was adamant that was not the cause.

“Most of the problem with floodwater being trapped at in the underpass is not because our drainage system or pipes did not work, but because rubbish clogged the drains,” he said.

“This is a big problem for Phuket in many areas. It doesn’t matter what quality pumps we have if our streets are littered with rubbish.”

Mr Chalermpon also said that the underpass was always in danger of flooding during the rainy season as it has been built in a natural catchment area that floods with each heavy downpour.

“Every time it rains like this at this time of year, this area will still have issues with floodwaters because the tunnel has been built in a basin, so this area will always have to deal with floodwaters much more than other areas,” he said.



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Kurt | 11 October 2016 - 14:07:39

Rorii, fly-overs perhaps not get a fashion price, but look at the Underpasses infra structures at Sam Kong and Central Festival.
Both, with roads around/above took a lot of space.
Space, not available at Chalong circle.
Beside of that, Chalong circle surrounding is very ugly, a fly-over there can not spoil anything.

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Rorii | 11 October 2016 - 12:28:22

Joey, joey Joe12,  my "degree" comes from the same place all of yours do, the fact is, the tunnel floods, so yes, they stuffed up, properly designed they would have grates at the entries, to stop any rubbish, they would have sumps the collect water, the pumps, pump water from the sumps. Now, how about adding something sensible, or are you incapable of doing so. Yes joey, they stuffed up... bit like you often do.

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Kurt | 11 October 2016 - 10:52:26

swerv: Another 'experienced' underpass project engineer?
You mean someone who knows all about the in- and out's of the Sam Kong underpass construction ( experience) and realize that Chalong underpass will be much more complicated to engineer?

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Joe12 | 10 October 2016 - 20:11:02

Rorii... don't know where you got your engineering degree from..." the tunnels are not designed correctly...the fact is they stuffed up".

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Rorii | 10 October 2016 - 15:58:41

maicotai, overpasses are ugly, they also take up a lot of valuable real estate, recently I watched a documentary, on tunnels, it was mentioned, with today's tunneling technology, it is now, cost wise, on par with overpasses, the problem with Thailand, the tunnels are not designed correctly, hence flooding, no matter what the local "experts" say... the fact is they stuffed up, but them, many of us thought they would, except a certain editor, from that , now defunct, blog site.

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Kurt | 10 October 2016 - 15:01:44

The Phuket News is asking in todays video what we think about the leaving underpass project engineer.
Well:  I think the good man is mentally exhausted after working many years with a thai Underpass construction company that only worked office hours with not enough workers. 
Project completed 18 months overdue! No wonder with the very few workers we saw there most of the time.
And this project engineer is closing the Phuket door behind him before they can send him to do the Chalong Underpass job.
He knows already, that Chalong Underpass construction is going to become a disaster with the same company that complete finally the Sam Kong Underpass.
Chalong Underpass construction will be very, very complicated, ...and time lasting! 
Mark my words.

That company works now already 1 year just office hours (!!!) to make a new drainage piping in front of Homepro Village Chalong.
Forgive me to say, but in Singapore was that already done in 3-4 months, working 7/24.
The planning and work operation at Chalong, it is just unprofessional. Already 1 year now.

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swerv | 10 October 2016 - 12:59:49

Kurt: You state
"Yes, Sir Burr, you are correct.
However, when the professional experienced underpass project engineer is gone, who takes over his job for Chalong underpass disaster the coming 3 years?"

Possibly another experienced underpass project engineer? Duh

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maicotai | 09 October 2016 - 15:28:10

Next time try to build a flyover , maybe it will be better and no risk of flooding.Congratulation for the new island of tunnel and now we will see the one is going to start in Chalong......

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Kurt | 09 October 2016 - 08:53:34

Yes, Sir Burr, you are correct.
However, when the professional experienced underpass project engineer is gone, who takes over his job for Chalong underpass disaster the coming 3 years?
(They now already 1 years working on renewing the drainage system only near Chalong circle.)
And question still remains, is the contractor who has to pay first B570 million fine for Sam Kong underpass overdue, able to build Chalong underpass?
Around construction site of Sam Kong underpass was a lot of operational space for contractor.
At Chalong site there is not.
In that proposed Chalong underpass will be a lot of water pressure from below pushing up the underpass road.
The road deck in that underpass has to be 'anchored'.
At same time a lot of natural water catchment from 'above', as benvenuto mentioned.

Interesting times are coming for the Phuket newspapers.

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benvenuto | 08 October 2016 - 16:36:50

"Mr Chalermpon also said that the underpass was always in danger of flooding because ...." What a completely unforseeable surprise. So I guess the geniuses who decided against a cheaper, less disruptive, unfloodable overpass are now working for NASA or in the Virgin Islands. Whenever this is finally finished (no more deadlines please) and the flooding has subsided could we please see a copy of the bank deposit slip for 570m baht? Ha ha.
So roll on The Chalong Natural Catchment Area Underpass disaster

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