The westbound section of the road remains reduced to one lane, but Samak Luedwonghat, Chief of the Phuket Highways Department, says that motorists should not be concerned.
“We made emergency repairs immediately after the road started collapsing [last October]. We have made additional repairs to support the road, which is safe to use,” he told The Phuket News.
In addition to reinforcing the support for the road, barriers and signs have been installed to warn motorists that the outer westbound lane has been closed off, he added.
With heavy rains starting to return, the Highways Office has made changes to the site to help rainwater off from returning to the area under the road washed away last year.
“We have done everything that prevents the collapsed part of the road from directly facing runoff,” Mr Samak said.
“However, motorists have to drive carefully when it is raining because there is only one lane and rainwater will be flowing across the road.”
The immediate repairs made last year were made possible under an emergency budget, Mr Samak explained.
Long-term repairs to the road will be a major project costing millions of baht, he pointed out.
“We have examined the collapsed section and we filed a budget request to repair it last year. The budget will come in October [this year] as a part of the budget of the 2022 fiscal year,” Mr Samak said.
“We will receive the budget for sure because the officers at the Ministry of Transport and the Department of Highways have not questioned our budget proposal,” he added.
The budget request to make permanent repairs to the road is for B10 million, Mr Samak noted.
“The [long-term] repairs will need about B10 million, maybe more, because we need to build a whole new support structure for the collapsed part as well as for other parts of the road where a road collapse is possible in the future,” he said.
“We have to think of two issues for the plan, including strengthening the earth support under the road and reducing the curve of the road,” Mr Samak said.
However, the plans for the long-term repairs have yet to be finalised, he noted.
“A team of geologists came to examine the areas two weeks ago to collect information for making the repair plan,” he said.
“The budget we have asked for was only an estimated number, but in the end the actual budget needs to meet the plan,” he concluded.