However, officials from the PLTO official are not yet able to confirm when they will begin the checkpoints as the budget and workforce details have not yet been calculated.
The decision to start the checkpoints was made at a meeting held at Phuket City Hall at 2pm yesterday (July 17) to pinpoint the risk factors and discuss prevention methods with regards to road accidents on Patong Hill.
Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong presided over the meeting with participation from Chief of Patong Police Col Tassanai Orarigadech, Patong Mayor Mrs Chalermluck Kepsup, Director of the Bureau of Highway Safety Sujin Mungnimit, Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office (PLTO) official Mr Prapai Suankool and representatives from the Phuket Highway District Office.
Gov Norraphat opened the meeting by reiterating that due to the gradient of Patong Hill, there have been a lot of accidents involving public transport vehicles that have led to injuries and deaths.
After much discussion, including a suggestion from the Director of the Bureau of Highway Safety Mr Sujin that laying red anti-skid material on the road surface be considered, the resolution agreed upon was that the PLTO would be assigned to set up checkpoints around Patong Hill to monitor the condition of cars and drivers, check driver’s licenses and monitor alcohol use as a temporary accident prevention method.
The PLTO will be responsible for setting the locations of the checkpoints, stationing a group of officers at the checkpoints and managing them, urgently.
Meanwhile, the Phuket Highway District Office was assigned to check the road engineering of Patong Hill and find solutions for a safer road surface, such as painting the road surface thicker to prevent slipperiness, and checking all traffic signs and signals.
However, for the long-term, officials discussed the future construction of a tunnel through the hill and adjustment of the road gradient, noting that a high budget would be required for both of these solutions.
Yesterday’s meeting was held following the Mayor of Patong calling for the government to re-engineer the deadly road down the steep hill descending into the key resort town in the hopes of preventing further tour bus accidents claiming the lives of tourists and local residents.
That plea came at an emergency meeting of officials called by Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong last Tuesday (July 12) (see story here) in the aftermath of the tragic accident last Monday night (July 10) that killed a 10-year-old Chinese tourist boy and his father. (See story here.)