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Patong Tunnel, airport expressway projects inch forward

Patong Tunnel, airport expressway projects inch forward

PHUKET: Surachet Laophulsuk, Governor of the Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT), in Phuket yesterday (June 1) said the Patong Tunnel project was on track for construction to begin in December 2023 and open for service in December 2027.

By The Phuket News

Thursday 2 June 2022, 04:11PM

Mr Surachet explained the statuses of the Patong Tunnel project, officially called the Kathu-Patong Expressway Project, and the Muang Mai-Koh Kaew-Kathu Expressway Project at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday joined by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, Vice Governor Pichet Panapong and a host of other officials.

Both expressways will be constructed as “Joint Investment” projects, Mr Surachet said.

For the Patong Tunnel project, EXAT on Mar 29 issued an order appointing a selection committee and on May 20 EXAT signed an ‘Integrity Pact’ with observers from the government corruption watchdog Anti-Corruption Thailand to participate as independent observers of the selection process, Mr Surachet said.

“Currently, the essence of the draft invitation announcement is being prepared, as well as the draft documents for private selection and draft investment contracts, as part of the preparation of investor interest assessment (Market Sounding) conducted during January 2023,” he said.

“Construction is expected to begin in December 2023 and open for service in December 2027,” he added.

Regarding the Muang Mai-Koh Kaew-Kathu Expressway Project, Mr Surachet said that EXAT had signed a contract to hire a consulting group comprising M.A. Consultants Co Ltd, Asian Engineering Consultants Co Ltd, PSK Consultants Co and Pre-Development Consultants Co Ltd to conduct feasibility studies to research the engineering, economics, finance and environmental impact of the project.

The project will stretch some 30km, starting at the intersection of Thepkrasattri Rd with Highway 4026, which leads to Nai Yang Beach, EXAT Deputy Governor Gardphajon Udomdhammabhakdi explained during a visit to Phuket in June last year.

The expressway will parallel Thepkrasattri Rd all the way through Srisoonthorn and will provide a connection with the main intersection in Koh Kaew, then continue to run parallel with the bypass road to finally connect with with Highway 4029 in Kathu, which will allow motorists to use the Patong Tunnel, he said.

Mr Surachet yesterday explained that consulting group now hired began work on April 1 and had 450 days to complete their research,

“Currently, the feasibility study is underway,” he said. “According to the operational plan for the project, we have now completed 10.30% of the plan. Construction is expected to begin in December 2024 with the expressway opening for service in December 2027.

“The plan is to conduct a feasibility study for 15 months, which includes a plan to hold the first public hearing on project orientation, the second public hearing on the result of selecting an appropriate alternative model, and the third public hearing to present a summary of the project,” Mr Surachet said.

The public hearings are to be held in July 2022, November 2022 and March 2023, respectively, he added.

“This is to ensure the project implementation is prudent, efficient and integrated. EXAT therefore arranged a meeting to discuss between EXAT and the Governor of Phuket and related agencies regarding details and plans to study engineering feasibility. economy, finance and environmental impact Muang Mai-Koh Kaew-Kathu Expressway Project in order for Phuket Province [the provincial officials] to be aware of EXAT’s project development guidelines, as well as to exchange ideas that will benefit the project further,” Mr Surachet said.

Of note, not mentioned in reports of the meeting by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket), Radio Thailand Phuket or national state news agency NNT was that the Patong Tunnel project at last report is budgeted to cost B14.67 billion.

The Muang Mai-Koh Kaew-Kathu Expressway project at last report in 2020 was budgeted to cost B30 billion, equating to roughly B1.4bn per kilometre for the-then reported 22.4km route.

Also not mentioned were the costs of the feasibility studies already conducted into the two projects, or the amounts being spent on the current round of feasibility studies.

Of note, the report by PR Phuket did not recognise Governor Narong’s presence at the meeting, despite the fact the Governor sat beside Mr Surachet all throughout the meeting. The PR Phuket report also avoided publishing any photos confirming that the Governor was present.

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Kurt | 03 June 2022 - 10:43:17

EXAT, anti-corruption Watchdog (hehehe), 5 (!) consulting groups for feasebility study! Sure that are enough groups at the money troughs for 450 days? Not more committees? Becareful, otherwise we run out of money to construct the tunnel.

JohnC | 03 June 2022 - 09:06:53

By far Phuket's biggest ever waste of time and resources. It is still hard to comprehend why they decided this was a worthwhile idea. Only answer I can come up with is the amount of kickbacks on offer and follow up repair contract tendering means there is big big money going in to many people's pocxkets, especially those partial to not always doing what they are paid to.


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