Bangkok chief has dig at city works for 13 year delay to new tunnel

Photo via ภัทราพร ตั๊นงาม

The Director of Bangkok Public Works Department has promised Chadchart Sittipunt that the new Fai Chai Tunnel will be open for use on August 1 after the city chief had a dig at him over the project dragging on for 13 years.

The director, Taiwut Khankaew, guaranteed the tunnel would be ready in time, reporting the project was 90% complete.

Construction started on the Fai Chai Tunnel, or Phran Nok – Charan Sanit Wong Underpass, in 2009. The completed tunnel will help ease heavy traffic congestion around the Fai Chai Junction, providing an alternative route for drivers who want to cross the junction.

But the much-delayed project has lurched from one disaster to another from the start of construction. The tunnel was supposed to solve traffic jams but initial construction work caused even more transportation problems and forced a number of businesses along the road to close down because commuters found it difficult to reach their destination.

Taiwut explained the halt to the project in 2014 was because residents requested a larger pedestrian path alongside the tunnel. He said the larger pavement added four years to the tunnel project.

The tunnel construction also stopped in 2015 because the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand extended MRT Blue Lines from Bang Sue – Tha Phra and Hua Lamphong – Bang Kae in the same area. The extended MRT Blue Line took five years to complete meaning tunnel work stopped completely during that time.

The almost completed tunnel has decreased from 827 metres to 596 metres, its width reduced from 12 metres to 10.6 metres, and there are now two road lanes instead of three.

But Taiwut today informed the public that the project is almost finished with a little work left to do on the electrical side, fire suppression system, water drainage, and road surface.

Bangkok Governor Chadchart visited the tunnel today and couldn’t resist having a little dig at Taiwut for the length of time the city works department took to complete the works.

“Director, you should be careful with every detail. No more chances to close the tunnel to fix the construction again. The road seems a little bit bumpy but it will be OK as it should be paved with asphalt again, right?

“It will open on August 1, right? What time will it open?”

SOURCE: Khaosod | Matichon | Prachachat

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.