Connect with us

Opinion

Island View: Don’t need a 12-lane highway

Published

 on 

PHUKET: With over 20,000 deaths every year, Thailand is second only to Libya – a country in the midst of a civil war – for the highest rate of annual traffic fatalities.

Here in Phuket, poor planning, dense populations, unqualified drivers and a lack of law enforcement conspire to constantly raise each week’s body-count.

The main thoroughfare through the island – Thepkrasattri Road – resembles a parking lot during rush hours, and overdue and over-budget construction projects are not helping.

Outside of rush hours, ‘ghost’ motorists driving against oncoming traffic; people turning on their hazard flashers and parking on the road to pop into a 7-Eleven; salengs sloshing along at a snail’s pace; dangerously overloaded trucks; silly teenagers on motorbikes racing between lanes without helmets; tour buses cutting off the entirety of the roadway at u-turns; and speeding taxi and tailgating van drivers with a half-dozen ghost-faced Chinese tourists packed in the back, are all ongoing concerns.

That’s to say nothing of the degraded state of much of Thepkrasattri and the bypass roads. Ongoing simultaneous construction projects throughout the province (whoever had that brilliant idea) have forced most of the traffic into too few lanes, wearing down what roads are left. Road crews of Burmese workers – themselves little better off than indentured servants and forced to live in camps – are either preoccupied with completing overdue projects, or unable to patch up the craters due to incessant traffic.

While outgoing Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada is correct that something must be done about Phuket’s roads, it doesn’t take a 12-lane highway or (God forbid) a train running down the center of Thepkrasattri road to solve the problem. It doesn’t take new laws or more baht or much bureaucratic wrangling either.

Simply don’t allow people to park on Thepkrasattri.

What is meant to be a six-lane artery for the island is choked up to four or even two lanes along it’s route into Phuket Town.

Phuket does not need another construction project, particularly after the remarkably poor performances in building the bypass road underpasses. Phuket needs her veins flushed.

Paint every curb along Thepkrasattri red and white and, most importantly, enforce the no-parking rule. It wouldn’t be too hard to convince police to quit shaking down businesses and instead to shakedown motorists stopped along the thoroughfare.

Phuket’s traffic casualty rate is approaching, quite literally, epidemic proportions. Building more roads is not going to solve what is, at its core, a systemic failure of governance.

Yes, there will be a backlash, an outcry and a great brouhaha from every yokel who has to park around the corner to buy his cigarettes and beer. But frankly, they could use the walk as heart disease is still the number one killer of Thais. And, ultimately, it’s a fair price to pay for the family of four on a scooter to not end up as another smear across the roadway and yet another newspaper clipping in the teetering stacks we keep at this office.

— Desmond Farang

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime8 mins ago

British CEO arrested at Bangkok Airport over 40 million baht fraud accusations

Thailand11 mins ago

Thailand’s 5 national parks raise entry fees for foreigners by 100%

Bangkok24 mins ago

Ari around invites Ari people to share good deeds through the app.

Sponsored6 hours ago

Segafredo Zanetti Coffee teamed up with Bangkok Airways and hosted “Bangkok Airways Surf Festival 2022”

Press Room34 mins ago

Where to order cannabis/weed in Thailand

Chon Buri43 mins ago

Trouserless Chon Buri man crashes car into power pole

Entertainment52 mins ago

‘The Trapped 13’ lets Wild Boars speak for themselves

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand54 mins ago

Reported Bangkok VIP casino vanishes into thin air

World1 hour ago

Australia sets goal of preventing any more species from going extinct

Crime1 hour ago

Mass shooting in Thailand: 36 dead, including 24 children, 12 injured

Thailand1 hour ago

9 Thais arrested in South Korea for smuggling drugs

Drugs2 hours ago

Police snag 2.5 meth pills in checkpoint stings

Thailand2 hours ago

Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital needs urgent blood donations after mass shooting

Crime2 hours ago

BREAKING: Nursery mass shooter shoots dead wife and child before killing himself

Central Thailand2 hours ago

Meditation retreat in lush garden setting coming up in central Thailand

World3 hours ago

Death of 66 children linked to an Indian cough medicine

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending