Project lawyer Somkiet Srikonkaew from the Phuket Highways Department confirmed to The Phuket News today (Oct 18) that, “landowners* at both of the locations do not want the construction of the U-turns.
“Right now, I cannot say whether construction will continue or not. But we have filed a legal appeal to Bangkok,” he added.
“The appeal was sent a few months ago already. It is expected to take not less than another six months, however, it could take up to one year,” he added.
“We tried to convince the owners of all of the advantages of the flyovers, including less traffic jams, and better safety for people, as flyovers are much more visible than U-turns on the highway.”
“But, they refuse to give up the land. They said they just do not want construction on the land, they want to use it,” he said.
“Maybe they want to build on it in the future, perhaps a hotel or something, I am not sure,” said Mr Somkiet.
In response to questions about why the project was approved before the land acquisition was assured, Mr Somkiet said, “We had three meetings about this project. The first two meetings, the land owners did not show up.”
“But, all the other relevant offices agreed and approved of the project at that time,” he added.
The Thalang flyover is planned to be 640 metres long, with the elevated section spanning 335m, while the Koh Kaew flyover will be 550m long and an elevated section spanning 315m.
The construction was meant to begin this month or in November, Phuket Highways Office Director Patiwetwoottisak Sookki told The Phuket News in July this year. (See story here).
“The project will need an extra 10 metres of land on both sides of each flyover, but compensation for land expropriated for both flyovers is not included in the budget,” Mr Patiwetwoottisa had said.
CORRECTION: The Phuket News later confirmed there are 22 landowners in total involved in the land acquisition issue - not just two, as originally reported.