UPDATE: Traffic is now slowly flowing down Patong Hill, towards Kathu only, with officers stringent that vehicles move slowly and are well spaced apart. As of 1pm, no incidents had been reported.
See video here: https://fb.watch/gApiG-VU_O/
Governor Narong Woonciew made the announcement after meeting with officials at the landslide site last night.
“Small vehicles, from cars to vans to pickup trucks, are allowed to take the downward path from Patong to Kathu, starting at noon on November 4, to alleviate the initial suffering for the people,” Phuket Governor said.
The downhill lane will first open to selected small vehicles at 10am as a “trial period”, before the lane is opened “for real use” from midday, he noted.
Governor Narong said experts had examined the soil strength at the site and advised that it is safe to open the downhill lane to small vehicles.
“The engineering team found that the strength of the soil layer of the downhill lane from Patong to Kathu was strong enough to allow four-wheeled cars and vans to pass through because that lane is far [enough] from the landslide,” Governor Narong said.
“As for the uphill lane from Kathu to Patong, that still has to stay closed because there are machines that are accelerating [the work] to improve the road, and because the assessment of the soil strength has found that it is not as strong as the other side,” he said.
“As for motorcycles, they can continue to use the way both up and down [the hill] as usual,” he added.
“If tests later find that the soil layer is strong enough and can support the weight of traffic, we will allow cars to pass both up and down the hill,” he said.
Governor Narong urged motorists using the the road to exercise caution.
“It is being opened to use to alleviate the initial difficulties. It is not yet open for regular traffic, and work is continuing to repair the broken road. Therefore people must be careful in using the road as much as possible,” he said.