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Officials look to reopen Patong Hill to uphill traffic ‘within days’

Officials look to reopen Patong Hill to uphill traffic ‘within days’

PHUKET: Phuket officials are hoping to allow small vehicles up Patong Hill again within “two to three days”, if the road is safe enough.

patongtourismtransportSafety
By The Phuket News

Tuesday 15 November 2022, 12:33PM


Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong inspected the landslide site yesterday (Nov 14), joined by Kathu Mayor Chai-anan Sutthikul, reported the Phuket Info Center.

“The contractor has accelerated the compacting of the soil to make the foundation strong,” Mr Pichet said 

“Within three days we will be able to open the road for cars to use the upward lane again, but if it rains, that may delay the reopening a little more.”

Another “test run” will be held before allowing regular traffic up the hill again, he said.

Mr Pichet said that heavy machinery was working on creating “layers” in the embankment.

“Large rocks weighing at least 700 kilogrammes will be used to lock the base of the embankment. The large rocks will be excavated one meter into the embankment and buried by up to three metres of smaller stones to fill the gaps between the large rocks. Then we will use a textile sheet to cover it up,” he said.

“Then a clay-cement mixture will be used and mixed with the soil so that it can solidify and be able to balance and support the relatively steep slope,” he added.

The embankment needs to be strong enough to support the traffic load above, and the machinery needed to repair the damaged road, which is 70m long, he said.

“Therefore, today’s work is trying to accelerate this process to allow the construction work on the embankment to be completed as quickly as possible in order to alleviate the suffering of the people,” Vice Governor Pichet said.

“The Prime Minister [Prayut Chan-o-cha] and the governor [Narong Woonciew] care about this,” Vice Governor Pichet assured.

“I will take care of the technical aspects of construction engineering, which must be strongly adhered to while the work is being accelerated,” he said.

Currently motorbikes are allowed over the hill in both directions while “small vehicles’ ‒ namely cars, pickups and passenger vans ‒ are allowed downhill from Patong to Kathu only.

Small vehicles were banned from travelling uphill past the landslide site at midnight Friday night (00:01am, Nov 12) for safety reasons after officials recognised soil movement at the site.

The vehicles travelling up the hill were using the lane closest to the landslide embankment. The extra weight resulted in the cracks in the road left by the initial landslide widening further.

The ban came into effect hours after “soil movement” occurred at the landslide site. Vehicles were allowed to continue up the hill, within metres of the dangerous edge of the road, even after the “soil movement” had been recognised.

The ban came just 36 hours after the road was deemed safe and small vehicles ‒ cars, pickups and passenger vans ‒ were allowed to travel up the hill on Thursday afternoon.

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Kurt | 17 November 2022 - 18:49:45

Soon International Tourist Island Phuket shows herself to people from abroad as a Island with all very sub standard roads. Naka Hill, Patong Hill, Kata Hill, Prab Keesing rd, short cut rd Chalong-Patong. All due to stripped/limited budgets due to 'kick backs' and lack of skills to construct them. Half the time not knowing what they do.

Fascinated | 17 November 2022 - 13:30:27

No 'golden road' money in that @Kamala Pete- that's the problem even though it is the best solution. Cuttings are used all over the world, even look at the 'new' road over Naka hill south of Kamala.

Kamala Pete | 16 November 2022 - 14:39:13

The hills are not made of rock - so a couple of large bulldozers would make short work of knocking the top off the hill and filling up the valley - leaving a straight, safe road lined up with the main road below.

Timothy | 16 November 2022 - 09:56:20

Any "temporary" repairs are just going to make it harder to do a proper repair later. As tamvong said there needs to be culverts and concrete retaining walls. Concrete takes 28 days to reach full strength. The idiots building Prab's road are driving concrete trucks/pumps on 'green' concrete. Experts at greed and corruption, not construction. 

JohnC | 16 November 2022 - 08:54:07

Here we go again. LOL How many days until this thought is countermanded yet again. Starting to think Mr Prab's road might be a better option TIT!

tamvong | 15 November 2022 - 21:52:50

Be interesting to see what's left after tonight's rain!

Fascinated | 15 November 2022 - 19:17:27

I guess its a loss of face to just accept the reality that this is a long term repair, not a quick fix. No one in the real world is buying into it though.  Shut it down for proper repairs and accept the consequences instead of looking even more foolish when it all falls apart.

Kurt | 15 November 2022 - 16:08:51

The kindergarten thinking/handling Patong Hill road 'repairs' will make Phuket, specially Patong, to go decennia long suffering. Well, it's a way to advertise Phuket as tourist destination infamous with Patong, always crippled reachable.

Capricornball | 15 November 2022 - 13:16:17

So the VGov is an engineering expert knowledge of soil bearing criteria. Don't think so. Seems everything they're doing is counter to good engineering practices, mainly using unconsolidated boulders and gravel as the base foundation. This material cannot be compacted, and will immediately and continuously settle and shift. This rush job will soon need more road repairs in the future.

tamvong | 15 November 2022 - 13:08:31

What an absolute fiasco. First they need to install many more culverts to release the pressure of water from the uphill side. Then they need to build an adequate retaining wall on the downhill side and stabilize the uphill slope. Finally they need to dig up the "road" and build a proper one on a decent foundation. This will take several months to make it safe to re-open.

 

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