The team of officials, led by Sirigate Aphirat of the Ministry of Transport’s Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), carried out the inspection on Wednesday and Thursday (Jan 17-18).
The EIA, by law a critical “must pass” element of any major government project in Thailand, will be submitted for its first consideration on Jan 26, Mr Sirigate confirmed.
“On Jan 17 at 8:30am, the ONEP team checked the areas from Tha Noon in Phang Nga to Phuket International Airport, and from the airport to the Bang Khu Intersection in the afternoon.
“On Jan 18 at 8am, the ONEP team checked the areas from the Bang Khu Intersection to Chalong Circle, including making records of places where land has been expropriated,” he said.
In addition, the group surveyed roads that would be affected by construction, including Rassada Rd; Bangkok Rd; Chao Fa East Rd; Thepkrasattri Rd, from Thungka Rd to Dibuk Rd, as well the intersections with Komarapat Rd to Dibuk Rd and U-turns.
They also checked where construction areas will be, workers’ houses and material storage units, and measured noise levels already present at several locations so that the noise levels could be compared with levels recorded later while construction is underway.
“The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) will study an investment model, which is estimated to take four months (Jan to April),” Mr Sirigate said.
“Then it will be sent to the Cabinet to consider the form of joint venture, which should take eight months. If the project is approved, we can start the construction,” he explained.
Thailand’s Transport Minister Lt Gen Arkhom Termpittayapaisith in March last year confirmed that Phuket’s light-rail project was gaining momentum and that his office would push for a B31bn bidget to be approved. (See story here.)
However, Mr Sirigate only three months later revealed that the budget had jumped by B9bn to accommodate six underpasses that were deemed necessary to bring the project to fruition. (See story here.)
The reality that construction of the light-rail is very unlikely to commence anytime before January 2019 follows years of high-ranking officials promising work would begin this year. (See story here.)