The drainage ditch, which runs from the pond beside The Palm Breeze Resort to the three-way intersection with turnoffs to Kata and Nai Harn, is covered in some parts, but exposed, filthy and dangerous along other sections beside the road.
Most recently a driver accidentally landed his car in the drain, which ended up nose-down, mired in the muck.
Rawai Mayor Aroon Soros told The Phuket News that he was unaware of the accident until he was shown a photo of the car that was sent to The Phuket News, but he did explain that the drain was already a focus of concern and had been an issue for a long time.
A contractor was hired last year to have the ditch converted to a concrete drain and covered with a footpath along the 600-plus metres from the pond to the three-way intersection, he said.
This project is funded under a B10-million budget, Mayor Aroon explained.
The project contract started on Aug 15 last year, giving the contractor until tomorrow (Feb 28) to complete the work.
However, the project has stalled due to factors beyond the contractor’s control, Mayor Aroon said.
Shop owners have yet to remove their concrete slabs covering the drain in front of their stores and power poles have yet to be moved so the work can continue, he said.
“I issued a notice telling shop owners to remove their blocks covering the drain, which they did on Monday (Feb 25),” he said.
“I have also again asked the local Provincial Electricity Authority to move the power poles, which they have yet to show any sign of doing,” he added.
“The deadline for the project has nearly passed but the contractor still is unable to finish the work. We will meet with them this week to discuss our options.
“At this stage, we will simply have to extend the official deadline for completing the project. We will also discuss what happens with the fine to be levied under the contract for late completion,” he said.
Mayor Aroon told The Phuket News that he also has plans to have covered drains with footpaths installed along other sections of Saiyuan Rd.
“But we will first need to look at the budget required, and we must consult with the Department of Rural Roads, which is responsible for Saiyuan Rd, to see if there is enough space (beside the road),” he said.
The continuing problems with the drain – and a lack of action by Rawai Municipality to fix the problems – have been a bane for local business operators.
One local business operator told The Phuket News that in the four and a half years that the business had been open along the road, Rawai Municipality had cleaned the drain only twice.
“Each time it was done only about one-third of the rubbish was actually taken out. The biggest problem being when it does rain all the sludge in the now overflowing drain covers our property,” the operator said.
“I have lost count of the amount of times we have gone to the municipality to plead with them to come and clean this drain. All we get from Rawai Municipality is ‘I will speak to big boss.’ I was not sure who the big boss was, but when I asked to speak to him directly I was told that I could not!,” he said.
“There is a similar open drain a bit further down the road in front of the yellow bank (Bank of Ayudhya branch), but theirs seems to get cleaned on some sort of regular basis.
“Bear in mind when you look at the photos, it had not rained here for over four weeks! We are just so fed up with the lack of action!” the business operator said.