THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Plan to build B1.2bn Phuket bridge gains momentum

PHUKET: Plans to build a bridge costing B1.2 billion linking Phuket with Koh Maphrao, also just called “Coconut Island”, are gaining momentum with Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong expected to inspect the island today (Dec 22) to assess whether or not to pledge his support for the project.

tourismtransportconstructioneconomicsenvironment
By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Friday 22 December 2017, 02:46PM


The proposed bridge is to span about one kilometre from Laem Hin, popular for its seafood restaurants served by the local fishing community on Phuket’s east coast, to the pier at Baan Koh Maphrao on the island.

The move to push ahead with a fresh proposal to build the bridge, which has failed to gain approval in several previous attempts in the years past, comes from strong support from the villagers on the island itself, reports Teeradech Kumleang, Deputy Chief of the Phuket office Department of Rural Roads (DRR), which under the Ministry of Transport oversees the national Bureau of Bridge Construction.

“I arrived in Phuket about six months ago and I received complaints from villagers on the island saying they deeply wanted a bridge to Phuket,” Mr Teeradech explained.

“They even sent a petition of about 100 signatures asking for a bridge, so I dispatched a team to survey the residents on the island to better gauge public opinion on whether or not a majority actually wanted it,” he added.

The response was strong.

“We definitely support having a bridge. We want it,” said Sangsan Piersakul, the resident Imam on Koh Maphrao, where a huge majority of the islanders are Muslim.

“The officials came over to survey residents’ opinions last month. Most of the people here, there are about 1,000 people living on the island, supported having a bridge connecting us to Phuket,” he said.

“We want change on Koh Maphrao,” Imam Sangsan noted.

“Currently, we have to travel by boat between the islands. This is made even harder when the wind is strong and storms hit the area.

“Having a bridge is necessary for our people, to make it easier – and sometimes just possible – for them to travel to make a living, for healthcare, studying, working and especially in emergencies, which is a priority,” he added.

The Governor’s inspection scheduled for today follows Mr Teeradech presenting a formal proposal to Gov Norraphat at Provincial Hall just last week.

“I would like Phuket Governor Norraphat to support this project,” Mr Teeradech told The Phuket News.

“If the Governor agrees, then next this project will be handed to the Tourism Strategy staff at Provincial Hall.

“We will also invite other officials, such as from the Phuket Marine Office, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) and the national parks, for their input. We have to bring all our ideas together.

“Also, if we get the Governor’s approval, we can then apply for the first part of the budget required to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and even start the process to request the construction budget from the DRR in Bangkok.”

In his proposal to Gov Norraphat last week, Mr Teeradech confirmed that his office would prefer to build a suspension bridge. He also estimated such a bridge to cost about B1.2 billion.

“We have no idea yet how many lanes the bridge will have or other details. At this stage we are still looking at ideas,” Mr Teeradech explained.

“However, a suspension bridge is the suitable choice. It would have less effect on the environment and would be attractive. After the EIA has been done, we will know what the bridge design will look like,” he said.

Mr Teeradech also conceded the work that lays ahead in bringing the project to fruition.

“This project has a long way to go. We must understand that is sensitive to environmental NGOs here and we have yet to conduct the EIA, of which a very important part is explaining to people what the bridge will involve,” he said.

Mr Teeradech admitted the building of the bridge and the supporting roads infrastructure will affect mangroves in the area – and hence the project by law will need express permission from the Cabinet before it can proceed.

“Just like the Thepsrisin Bridge at Saphan Hin. We must be very careful with our plans and considerate of the natural environment we will be disturbing, but in the end I believe the project will be well worth it,” he said.

Regardless, Mr Teeradech remains confident the bridge – sooner or later – will be built.

“It is a good chance for Koh Maphrao, which is a part of Phuket that has yet to be developed,” he said.

“This bridge is worth building because of it will improve local people’s general well being and their standard of living simply by providing better transportation between Phuket and Koh Maphrao.”

 

Additional reporting by Somkiat Haphonkla

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Kurt | 24 December 2017 - 09:32:04

The charm of Koh Maphrao is the fact that it is a island.
Take that fact away and the island loose it's charm
The locals will go to face higher costs of life and less quality of thai life..

It is amazing, how officials and authorities are not so interested in small projects as road repairs, improve public cleaning around ( it are talks only about it). And so on, and so on.
Is it because ...

Fascinated | 22 December 2017 - 23:50:57

100 sigs in favour (10% of the population)= 1km bridge =1.4 billion baht.

Call me a cynic but I'm a cynic. Watch the money trail.

BosysurfNaiHarn | 22 December 2017 - 19:11:41

The island's economy is driven by tourists. Maybe first spend the money to make the island safer by providing lifeguard service and safer roads?

Asterix | 22 December 2017 - 15:30:32

B1.2bn for 1.000 inhabitants is look like spending 1,2M Baht per person without forgetting than many own lands and they will make huge profits by selling their lands to make luxurious privates home or resorts.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket tour bus oil leak fells motorcyclists

Poor driver, because his boss, the bus owner, didn't do proper maintenance checks, he has to tak...(Read More)


18 million meth pills seized in Chiang Rai

All fine PR, but I am waiting to read that drugs factories are destroyed, that the very top thai Hi-...(Read More)


Patong, Karon to be hit by water-supply outage throughout Christmas

Is this a joke? Or kind of negative tourist promotion during the Christmas Days. Something like: Don...(Read More)


Hunt for Phuket oil spill perpetrator underway

Why is it that always a Governor has to 'order' or to call on Department Chiefs to do their ...(Read More)


Doomed ‘Phoenix’ substandard: international experts

Well, the outcome of the international investigation asks for 1 important 'order' from Bangk...(Read More)


Doomed ‘Phoenix’ substandard: international experts

Every singel boats in phuket are built in a back yard, not a single tourist boat is built by any tha...(Read More)


Doomed ‘Phoenix’ substandard: international experts

So how many other substandard boats are out there? If there is one there are certainly plenty or oth...(Read More)


Hunt for Phuket oil spill perpetrator underway

Meh - the oil-ladened water is more sanitary than the stuff that isn't....(Read More)


Property owners to be targetted as fake goods raids hit Patong, Central

So, is the manager of Phuket Central Festival 'falling' under any thai act to arrest/fine hi...(Read More)


Phuket’s bypass roadworks to complete before New Year

The surface was fine and could easily have waited a couple of months until the roads (and everywhere...(Read More)