Assoc Prof Issari inspected the state of the road yesterday (Nov 19), accompanied by Phuket Highways Office Chief Samak Luedwonghat and his superior Yasin Chonpatathip, Director of the Office of Highways Region 17, along with Suebpong Paisanwattana, Director of the Office of Safety Administration.
Phuket Highways Office Chief Mr Samak in April this year assured motorists that the road is safe to use, despite the westbound section of the road being reduced to one lane.
Yesterday, Mr Samak explained that his office had reduced the westbound traffic to one lane for safety. Reflective markers and warning signs had been installed, and a non-slip surface had been added to the steep downhill section of the westbound lane for added safety, he said.
However, accidents still occurred on the downhill section, Mr Samak admitted, but noted that most accidents were attributed to motorists driving too fast.
Regardless, national Ombudsman Mr Issari pointed out that his office had received a formal complaint about the dangerous state of the road, and instructed Mr Samak to ensure that the required budgets were sought in order to improve safety at the dangerous site, locally called “Sator Curve”.
The Phuket Highways Office is to install additional reflective markers and warning signs advising drivers of the sharp curve ahead and the steep downhill slope ahead.
“The Phuket Highways Office is also to engage with the relevant agencies to integrate solutions to prevent risks that may arise from road subsidence; for example, strict checking of the weight of trucks and other heavy vehicles that are using the road over the hill,” he said.
“Alternative routes for tour buses and other vehicles that are too heavy to use the road over the hill, as well as regular motorists and tourists should be identified to reduce accidents and the loss of life,” Mr Issari said.