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Install solid lane dividers in Chalong Underpass, says Phuket poll

Install solid lane dividers in Chalong Underpass, says Phuket poll

PHUKET: A majority of respondents in an online poll by The Phuket News has called for officials to install solid lane dividers in the Chalong Underpass in order to make it safer.

tourismtransportaccidentsSafetyconstructionopinion
By The Phuket News

Wednesday 12 June 2019, 10:16AM


A tour bus enters the Chalong Underpass on its opening day. Photo: Phuket Highways Office

A tour bus enters the Chalong Underpass on its opening day. Photo: Phuket Highways Office

After nearly four years of construction, the Chalong Underpass finally opened on May 31, with intermittent lane closures to allow workers complete the finishing touches. (See stories here and here.)

Even before its opening, comments by local residents spiralled online over the width of the lanes and the fact the traffic will be flowing through the tunnel in both directions without any solid dividers to help prevent head-on accidents.

The lanes, at 3.5 metres wide, are “international standard,” Phuket Highways Chief Somwong Lohanut assured.

The only thing separating traffic from a head-on collision are small plastic orange police just 80cm tall, despite tour buses and other large vehicles being allowed to drive through the tunnel.

Worse, as Mr Somkiet also pointed out, Chalong Underpass is the only underpass on the island that has a curve in the tunnel underground, reducing motorist’s range of visibility even if there are no vehicles immediately in front. (See story here.)

To this, The Phuket News asked readers, “What should be done with the current dedication of traffic flow through the Chalong Underpass in order to make it safer?”

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Only 3% of respondents voted “Make the traffic flow in one direction from north to south”, and a further 3% voted “Make the traffic flow in one direction from south to north.”

A further 6% voted “Make the traffic flow in one direction – in either direction, but one direction only – but change the direction to suit when it is needed the most”, which was one suggestion floated by officials.

However, a clear majority of 59% voted “Keep the tunnel two-way, but install solid dividers to help prevent head-on collisions.”

A further 19% of respondents voted “Ban all heavy vehicles from using the tunnel”, and a surprising 10% voted “Do nothing. It is already as safe as it should be.”

For the full poll results, click here.

If your preferred response was not available in the poll, feel free to add it in the comments section below.

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Kurt | 12 June 2019 - 12:29:53

As we have seen the photos of a jackknifed truck + trailer in PN Opinion of 02 June, solid lane dividers do not guarantee underpass safety.
For narrow Chalong Underpass one way traffic 'on demand', regulated by computer system that handles the red and green signals would be something to consider.

Fascinated | 12 June 2019 - 10:40:09

Wasn't he the one who in another article said the underpass was dangerous? Classic coming from the Chief.

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