New Bangkok tollgate sparks controversy

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Bangkok’s new tollgate on the Chalerm Maha Nakhon Expressway in Pathum Wan district has officially opened, promising to improve the city’s traffic flow—but not without sparking a heated debate.

The Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT) announced that the new Lumpini entrance will provide a crucial link from the Chalerm Maha Nakhon Expressway to Wireless Road. This strategic shortcut is set to alleviate the notorious congestion at the Rama IV gate.

Equipped with four toll booths—two for cash and two for auto payment—the new entrance imposes a 50-baht fee for four-wheel vehicles. Larger vehicles face higher tolls, with six to 10-wheelers charged 75 baht and vehicles with more than 10 wheels paying 110 baht. Conveniently, motorists from Wireless Road can access the gate via Soi Polo, while those on Rama IV Road can turn into Soi Plukchit.

The new Lumpini gate is ideally positioned near the sprawling One Bangkok mixed-use mega-property on Rama IV Road, providing an alternate exit for those travelling into the city from Bang Na.

However, the construction of this gate has not been without controversy. When work began in February, social media buzzed with scepticism. Many questioned whether the gate was built to benefit the nearby One Bangkok project.

In response, EXAT issued a statement on February 8, clarifying that the new gate had been approved back in October 2017 by a dedicated sub-committee aimed at reducing rush-hour congestion at the Rama IV gate. They assured the public that extensive studies showed the gate would enhance traffic flow in the area, justifying its construction.

Adding fuel to the controversy, EXAT admitted they did not bear the construction costs. Instead, the gate was built on land owned by the Crown Property Bureau, with the contractor behind One Bangkok footing the bill, reported The Nation.

In related news, the Ministry of Transport is considering postponing a planned toll rate increase on the Don Mueang Tollway and may even lower the current fees, according to Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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