When asked for a justification and breakdown on the increased costs, Phuket Chamber of Commerce (PCC) President Thanusak Phungdet confirmed to The Phuket News today (Mar 5) that B12bn is to be allocated for the actual construction costs and the remaining B18bn to be used to acquire the land for the project to be built.
The long-slated expressway was the topic of conversation at a meeting held yesterday at Phuket Provincial Hall between President Thanusak, Phuket Vice Governor Wongsakorn Nunchukan and Gen Yodyuth Boonyathikarn, Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee of Transportation.
Gen Yodyuth explained that the committee had previously received many complaints about transportation issues in Phuket, and that the objective of the meeting was to hear officers’ opinions with the aim of collectively solving all relevant problems.
President Thanusak explained how he urged Chairman Yodyuth to support all major transportation projects in Phuket and encouraged consideration of Phuket as a special economic zone.
Elaborating, he claimed that, as representative of nine private organisations in Phuket, the central goal was for the committee to solve problems relating to increasing traffic jams and that, over the past four years, there has been both a high increase in the volume of traffic on the roads and, subsequently, the number of related accidents.
The expressway road project was the main area of focus although it transpired that the mandatory environmental impact assessment (EIA) still has not been approved – despite former Phuket Governor Norrapat Plodthong in June 2017 stating that the EIA approval was a mere formality and the project would be proceeding in due course. (See story here.)
President Thanusak also requested consideration of several more projects, including:
- The Chalong to Patong road, approximately 3km long with a budget of B220 million. This proposed project has also not yet passed its EIA requirements. It was originally announced in August 2012.(See story here.)
- The Patong tunnel project with a B33bn budget, which has been under consideration for decades. (See most recent update story here.)
- The project to widen Thepkrasattri Rd from the Heroines Monument to Baan Muangmai, which also has not yet passed its EIA.
- The Kathu-Koh Kaew road development project which has 3km remaining to finish the project.
- The Thepkrasattri Rd U-turn construction project which has already passed the public hearing process and is at the stage of negotiation with landowners in the area. (See story here.)
- The installation of an intelligent traffic light network as part of a wider smart city project objective with a budget of B150mn.
All of these are part of a holistic transportation project, respectively linking in to the proposed Surat Thani to Phuket mass transit rail link that was first mooted in October 2013. (See story here.)
“Additionally, I also want consideration for Phuket to be classified as a special economic zone, in order to generate further income and improve the potential to remain competitive with nearby countries,” commented President Thanusak.
The meeting concluded with Gen Yodyuth explaining that on March 24 the committee will liaise with the Director-General of the Department of Highways to highlight the problems and the proposed projects as solutions.