“Then the whole project will open for service in 2023, approximately,” he said.
Joining Governor Norraphat in making the announcement at Phuket Provincial hall was Gardphajon Udomdhammabhakdi Director of Project Development Department at the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), which has been handed the responsibility for overseeing the B39.4 billion light-rail project.
Mr Gardphajon explained that the legal changes required in order to allow the MRTA to operate projects outside of Bangkok were made by the Cabinet last Tuesday (Sept 11).
“Then Public-Private Partnership analysis can be concluded, which we expect by November, this year,” he said.
The MRTA reconfirmed last week that the total track length of light-rail will be 58.5km, from Tha Noon in Phang Nag to Chalong Circle.
Phase 1 of the project will be installing the double tracks from Phuket International Airport to Chalong Circle.
The trains will be permitted to travel no faster than 20-40km/h on average in built-up areas, but up to a maximum speed of 100km/h outside those areas.
Phase 1 also comprises the building of 21 stations between the airport and Chalong Circle, as follows:
1. Airport (elevated)
2. Muang Mai
3. Muang Thalang School
4. Thalang (underground)
5. Heroines Monument
6. Koh Kaew
7. Phuket Bus Terminal
8. Phuket Rajabhat University
9. Thung Kha
10. Thalang Rd
11. Phuket Clocktower Circle
12. Bang Niow
13. Phuket Public Library
14. Saphan Hin
15. Sakdidet Rd
18. Chao Fah East
20. Ban Khok Tanode
21. Chalong Circle
The remaining three stations will be along the northern extension from the turnoff to the airport on Thepkrasattri Rd to Tha Noon in Phang Nga, as follows: Phuket Gateway, Tha Chatchai and Tha Noon.
However, a key concern now being addressed are the road-safety issues that the light rail will bring, especially at crossings.
The plans are currently being reviewed in order to reduce the number of crossings as much as possible, and to make the crossings as safe as possible, the MRTA noted in its release.
As such, from the airport turnoff to the norther city limits of Phuket Town, there will be six tunnels built in order for the light rail to avoid interacting with traffic, with three of the tunnels being built along Thepkrasattri Rd in Thalang alone: one near the Khun Mae Ju store, one in front of Thalang Post Office and another in front of Thalang Police Station.
The locations of the other three tunnels were not revealed.
Meanwhile, eight U-turn points along Thepkrasattri Rd will be closed and the Phase 1 section of track will have in total just 12 crossings – with right of way given to the light rail at all crossings,
However, the MRTA did note that its plans did not include the two ‘flyover U-turns’ to be built as they were accounted for by Highways Department projects.
From the northern boundary of Phuket Town south through to Chao Fa East Rd, all crossings will be the same as the signals and barriers used by at standard railway crossings.
But more importantly, traffic will be rerouted to account for the small width of the roads in the heart of Phuket Town.
Along Thepkrasattri Rd and onto Phuket Rd, the section of road between Thungkha Rd and Dibuk Rd will changed to be one-way southward,.
Inversely, the section of Yaowarat Rd from Komaraphat Rd to Dibuk Rd will be changed to be one-way northward.