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Bangkok removing trees to make way for underground walkways

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As part of a new “landscape improvement project,” the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has begun removing trees along Na Phra Lan Road, to pave the way for an underground network of walkways. 34 trees on the road will be removed, and the “Silpakorn Nokrob” (around Silpakorn) Facebook page yesterday called the decision “heartbreaking” for locals and conservationists. In April the BMA took some flak after some overly enthusiastic pruning of the city’s trees. Some of the city’s green shade was cut back to bare, ugly stumps that will take years to recover any meaningful foliage.

The decision was made to make way for the construction of underground walkways to accommodate crowds flocking to the historical district, which encompasses landmark attractions including the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The BMA says the trees, many of them decades old, will be replanted near the Memorial Bridge.

The project is an initiative by the Rattanakosin and Old Cities Conservation and Development Committee, to improve the landscape of the Sanam Luang public square and the adjacent Na Phra Lan and Maha Rat roads. The area is home to Silpakorn Univerity, the Grand Palace and other must-see tourist magnets.

The project, with a budget of 1.1 billion baht, and expected to be completed next year, comprises 3 underground walkways with utility space. 2 walkways will be built under Na Phra Lan Road. 1 will be 96 metres long and the other 37 metres long. 1 will have utility space of 6,280 square metres, including 76 public restrooms. The third walkway, 90 metres in length, will be built under Maha Rat Road with utility space of 1,146 square metres and 35 restrooms.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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