With regards to construction materials left in one lane of Thepkrasattri Rd which has fueled complaints from locals, Project Engineer Kit Sonsuwan told The Phuket News, “The contractor has been able to start some parts of the construction and preparations, specifically in the middle of the road, where the Highways Department has access to the land.
“As we then encountered problems where nearly all of the land owners did not want their land to be expropriated, we had to file a request for a Royal Decree. The contractors said at first that they would remove the materials by December. But now they have requested more time until April.
“I think, if they were to remove everything now, they would have to put it back again later and it would cost them more time and money to do so, so they prolonged this,” he added.
“However, since we will be waiting for the Royal Decree for another six months or so, if they have not moved everything by April I will send another request for them to do so.”
“It is the fault of the Highways Department, as we had not obtained the land before hiring the contractor to start,” said Mr Kit.
Mr Kit explained the options available to the Highways Department in obtaining land for road projects:
1. The land owner gives the land to the Highways Dept.
2. The government transfers ownership of the land to the Highways Dept.
3. The Highways Dept request to use it under the ownership of the government.
4. Using a Royal Decree (requested from Bangkok government) which can be used in three ways:
- Offering monetary compensation to the land owner, together with enforcement of the Royal Decree
- Settling another type of agreement with the land owner together with enforcement of the Royal Decree
- The use of a Land Act law, along with the Royal Decree, and settling it lawfully (such as in a court).
“The Royal Decree will be used along with monetary reconciliation for a total of over 20 land owners,” added Mr Kit.
“If we are lucky, they will simply accept the money and the Royal Decree, and we will not have to enforce other methods.”
“One of the two points of the project that we call the ‘Yee Teng’ site, in Koh Kaew has six land owners that need to be reconciled with using the decree. The other point in Thalang, near the airport which we call the Mu Dok Khao site has 16 land owners,” he confirmed.
“The names of the project sites have been named after the names villagers around there use to refer to their areas,” he noted.
Somkiet Srikonkaew, the project’s lawyer, added, “Along with the Royal Decree we are waiting for more of the budget to be approved by the Prime Minister’s Office, to pay for both the reconciliations with land owners, and for the project itself.
“The design and plans are all ready once we obtain these. Meanwhile, the contract is continuing,” he added.
“The land owners will then be legally obliged to hand over land to the Highways Department, who will also pay them a sum to make sure they are in agreement.”
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 in October or November last year, Phuket Highways Office Director Patiwetwoottisak Sookki told The Phuket News in July last 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 said at the time.