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Phuket’s Chalong Underpass flamed for slow construction

PHUKET: The Mayor of Rawai has opened fire at the already long-delayed construction of the Chalong underpass due to “land expropriation problems”.

transport, construction, tourism,

Premkamon Ketsara

Saturday 24 June 2017, 11:00AM

The Chalong Underpass is already being scorned for the slow construction, which is affecting the incomes of people in the Rawai area. Photo: Prawarit Musika
The Chalong Underpass is already being scorned for the slow construction, which is affecting the incomes of people in the Rawai area. Photo: Prawarit Musika

The delay is causing huge traffic problems at the busy intersection and causing people to no longer visit the area – a factor that is greatly affecting local businesses, he said.

Civil Engineering Co Ltd is the contractor entrusted to build Chalong Underpass, Mayor Aroon pointed out.

The initial construction contract commenced on July 28, 2015, with a completion date set for September 14, 2017.

“It is only two months away from that deadline. It has been ongoing for two years – and construction is 10% complete,” Mr Aroon told Khao Phuket on Wednesday (June 21). (See story here.)

The contract assigned Civil Engineering Co Ltd a budget of B546 million to complete the underpass, but an oversight saw work on moving the power lines, utility poles and water pipes not beginning until March last year (see story here) – a delay of more than seven months before the first backhoe moved in.

“Local residents are suffering from this construction due to noise and dust in the air,” Mayor Aroon said.

“And then there is the traffic problem, because the two roads (Wist Rd and Chao Fa West Rd) have been reduced to smaller lanes. Some days, traffic tailbacks are up to three to four kilometres long,” he said.

“The budget for this construction has grown to over B540 million, yet there are no more than 20 workers on site,” Mayor Aroon noted.

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“I went to the site to ask why they have only been able to do so little work, and I was told the highway does not provide enough space for them to work because of the problem of land expropriation, as the owners of three houses are still negotiating for compensation. Workers are unable to work,” he said.

“I want to urge the Department of Highways to speed up the contractor to proceed. In fact, the process of land expropriation should have been completed and space and other details should have already been prepared. Get ready before you procure the budget, hire contractors and start construction.” Mayor Aroon railed.

“Now the people who are directly affected by this problem are the locals and tourists who use Wiset Rd and the Chao Fa West Rd. I’m not even sure the underpass will be completed within five years. Previously, the three-lane tunnel (Darasamut Underpass) was expected to take the longest time to build (of all the underpasses being built in Phuket), but now the Chalong Underpass promises to take longer,” he said.

Mayor Aroon explained that he had formally requested at meetings for some of the machinery to be removed from the site so that lanes could be re-opend to traffic. “But nothing has progressed yet,” he said.

“Traffic jams at Chalong Circle has also led to people growing tired of traveling to the Rawai area. This has affected people’s incomes because people do not want to visit Rawai,” he added.

Mayor Aroon pointed out that the busy intersection feeds traffic to the three key tourist areas of Rawai, Chalong and Karon.

“And every district suffers from this problem – but Rawai is the most affected, as through Chalong is the main route to get to the Rawai area,” said Mayor Aroon.



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Christy Sweet | 15 July 2017 - 09:52:19

Agree with Malczxr. If drivers would simply show some courtesy and use circles properly - meaning merge to the outer lane before exiting and giving way to traffic already in the circle,  many traffic woes could be alleviated. What is it about this culture that results in it being so innately selfish?

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malczx7r | 14 July 2017 - 14:51:13

All it needed was drivers to be taught how to use a roundabout, how to give way and learn some courtesy when driving and there would have been no need.

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Nasa12 | 25 June 2017 - 09:55:52

Like many people wrighting before. Build a bridge over the roundabout 70% cheaper and finish for 6 mount ago. And what comes to happen with the tunnel and high water stand ? And you do not have that much be brave about Mayor Aroon, just look at your bright in Nai Harn who would hold 30 years +in Chalong you tell the News fore about 4 weeks ag., Then the bridge are  broken after 2 weeks ??. This sm...

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Bigaresort | 25 June 2017 - 07:31:22

I want to be the first <I TOLD YOU SO>.Bravo !I hope it will take 10 Years and will kost some 100 Million or more and all the Locals who voted for an Underpass will loose! This Articel made my Day! Bravo!!I knew you delete it a.s.a.p. Anyhow I am Happy!

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Pauly44 | 24 June 2017 - 12:20:27

The department of Highways needa to be held accountable for this debacle, work shold never have been allowed to commence until everything was in place, 10% completed 2 months from expected completion is a true testament to the incompetence of this place, utterly pathetic!

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marcher | 24 June 2017 - 11:44:31

A disaster everyone knew would happen. "An oversight" in not realising that utility poles, etc. had to be moved? Sounds like the blind leading the blind. Meanwhile I only visit Central, Phuket Town, etc, if I am forced to do so. The 1 or 2 visits to Villa Market are now down to once a fortnight. Not all bad though. Makro and the adjacent Tesco are thriving

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