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.”
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.