The news follows the small vehicles being banned from travelling up the hill 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 noticeable gaps in the road are larger were caused by the day when cars were released from Kathu. At this time, some mortar has been poured into the side cavities of the road,” said a report by the Phuket Info Center.
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.
Work is continuing on reinforcing the base of the landslide embankment with large rocks and heavier soil being spread across the area, to be compacted later.
However, officials have now recognised that completing the road “may not be able to finish within 45 days due to weather conditions and the loading and unloading of the paving stones takes a long time to travel”, said a report by the Phuket Info Center.
Kathu Mayor Chai-anan Suthikul on Oct 29 in announcing the repairs to conducted said the repair works were scheduled to last between 45-60 days, although further inclement weather could impact that timeline, he added.
Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew present for the announcement also repeated the same hopeful deadline, which would have seen the repairs completed by mid-December.
The actual plans for what the completed repairs to the road and the embankment will eventually entail have never been released to the public. The current repairs were initially touted as “temporary repairs” under a B20 million project by Kathu Municipality.
However, a report by the Phuket Info Center released yesterday said that “staff” at the site had confirmed that the work entails making the road down the hill wider, making the slope of descent less dangerous and making the sharp curves less dangerous.
Following the ban on small vehicles travelling up the hill from Kathu to Patong coming back into effect over the weekend, officials reported traffic at the site this morning (Nov 14) as “normal”.
Motorbikes are still allowed to travel up the hill towards Patong, while motorbikes and “small vehicles” are allowed to travel down the hill from Patong towards Kathu.
However, reports of heavy traffic in Kamala continue, as that is the main, and shortest, route open for vehicles travelling from Phuket airport to Patong.
The only other alternative route is for motorists to drive down to Chalong Circle in the south of the island then access Patong via Kata and then Karon.
Officials also reported this morning that the groundwater levels and the soil tension readings in the soil at the Patong Hill landslide site were “normal”.