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Safety first in Patong Hill landslide site repairs, says Phuket Governor

Safety first in Patong Hill landslide site repairs, says Phuket Governor

PHUKET: Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew has called for officials to exercise ‘safety first’ as the top priority when carrying out repairs to roads affected by landslides, including the now-closed road over Patong Hill.

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By The Phuket News

Friday 21 October 2022, 05:33PM


Governor Narong visited the site today, while a survey team from Kathu Municipality and the Phuket Highways Office took soil samples to analyse the strength of the soil layer.

The team gathered samples from four locations on the road by drilling holes about two metres deep. They also took soil samples from the embankment. Test results are expected in two to three days.

“If it is safe, the route will be used as appropriate,” said one government report of the inspection, without attributing the quote to any particular official.

The inspection today was “to assess the safety risks in opening routes for people and tourists to travel back and forth [over the hill],” the report said.

“The most important thing from the disaster that is happening now [floods and landslides] is that the safety of the people and tourists who use the route must be taken into account. Therefore, the route must be temporarily closed for everyone’s safety,” Governor Narong said.

The road over Patong Hill, technically Phra Barami Rd (Route 4029), was closed to all traffic after the landslide on Wednesday (Oct 19).

People travelling to or from Patong must take the route either via Chalong-Kata-Karon or via Kamala. Officials have asked people to be patient and to allow extra time for completing their journey to or from Patong. So far long traffic delays along the routes have been usual.

For people who were dependant on buses, song taew or other forms of “public transport” (all form of ‘public transport’ over the hill was operated by private entities), kathu Municipality in coordination with Patong Municipality is providing a free shuttle service.

The shuttle service involves vans stopping 500 metres before the landslide site and passengers walking through the danger zone to where another van is waiting on the other side.

ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES

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Governor Narong’s call for safety today followed Yuttana Pitak, Director of the Phuket Highways Office, telling the press and Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Pinsuwan that repairs to all landslide sites in Phuket will be conducted “according to engineering principles”.

His claim came at a meeting led by Vice Governor Amnuay, and joined by Songyosin Chonpatathip, Director of Highway Department Region 17 Office.

Also present at the meeting were Kathu District Chief Siwat Rawangkul and Kamala Tambon Administrative Organization (OrBorTor) Chief Jutha Dumlak.

According to a government report of the meeting, Mr Yuttana said, “Once the area is cleared… people will be able to use the route immediately.”

Mr Yuttana also explained that for “long-term solutions” experts would be taking soil samples at the sites to help determine what action is to be taken to prevent future landslides at the same sites.

“This requires a budget and time to operate. The Department of Highways has sent experts to analyse and inspect the sites, including geologists to survey and analyse rock types at the hll [Patong Hill] to solve the problem,” he added.

“Phuket Provincial Office has mobilised a team to urgently fix the landslide problem in order to restore the traffic flow so that the vehicles can run normally as quickly as possible,” he added.

“While solving long-term problems, we must assess the condition of the area and use the appropriate protocols to be correct according to engineering principles,” he added.

That said, according to the government report, Mr Yuttana also reportedly said that the Patong Hill site was closed off to all traffic, “including not allowing people to walk through, it is strictly prohibited for the safety of life and property of the people” ‒ in plain contradiction to the free shuttle service launched yesterday.

Of note, while claiming that any repairs to landslide sites will be conducted “according to engineering principles”, no mention was made of the engineering principles already approved that allowed the landslides to occur in the first place.

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Kurt | 23 October 2022 - 11:34:35

Safety first? On Phuket? Give me a break. Empty, hollow words. Never supported by any outcome of acting/handling.All about show, no substance. For me, no impact, but I pity the Thai people who have to commute now to/from work on Phuket, because of road disasters after just a few days rain, due to sub standard road construction. Again, the truth has longer legs than Officialdom lies/corruption. 

skorchio | 22 October 2022 - 14:45:39

Do the pedestrians risking their lives have to be wearing masks ? 

Nasa12 | 22 October 2022 - 13:14:10

Well the road between Chalong and Kata maybe be close if more rain coming. It’s big logging and road building in this hill “Illegal”, and sand,soi and stone coming to this busy road. Waiting a big landslide in this spot soon. 

JohnC | 22 October 2022 - 10:03:31

The land of "safety first". That's why whenever I pass building sites I see the workers wearing Thai safety boots (flip-flops) and welders using no eye protection at all just shut your eyes and zap away. Where are the hard hats? Only time I see them is the occasional local riding his motorbike wearing one. Honestly, there is no concept of safety first, second or third in this country...

Capricornball | 22 October 2022 - 00:46:53

Now they're sending geologists out to "survey and analyze the rock types". What about the geology reports from the original construction,  or are they checking to see if the geology changed? Probably no adequate study was done, only paid for. And why is there such a thin asphalt layer, and where is the road-bed? Maybe that part of the budget went towards a few new Ducatis for the boy...

Prab | 21 October 2022 - 23:25:49

little narong asking for safety first? wow.. great example is kata Chalong road.. or over there does not apply the same? and yet again mainly talk for the picture today...another wasted day 

Fascinated | 21 October 2022 - 19:04:19

Ran out of characters. On the bright side why not just let it collapse further and there will be a cutting through to patong- no bneed for the pie in the sky tunnel. Karon-Chalong road hasn't been fiexed for 2 years- will anyone have any confidence in 'repairs conducted on this hill. Pity the first tour bus that ventures over the 'repairs'. 

Fascinated | 21 October 2022 - 19:01:03

Its clear that the relaxation of the laws have had an effect- one has to be smoking something to expect this route will be safe anytime soon. The pictures show it is just sitting on sand, which will not dry out for ages. The hillside is just jello at the moment. Even allowing pedestrians to walk down is completely irresponsible. This does not need an 'urgent fix' it needs a permanent fix

Nasa12 | 21 October 2022 - 18:41:59

It will take at least a year to fix that road, so it will be safe and travelable. But everyone now about Thai standard on safety. 

 

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