12 donate land for new Phuket Airport Road project

PHUKET CITY: A provincial plan to build a second airport road took a small step forward earlier this week, thanks to 12 private landowners who donated land for the project.

The handover took place on Monday night at the Ban Prujumpha School in Tambon Thepkrasattri, where the landowners personally handed over land title deeds and related documents to Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop.

Gov Wichai has been pushing four new road projects for the island since taking up the gubernatorial post in mid-March.

The largest of these is the second airport road, which would cost an estimated 400 million baht in construction fees alone, the governor said.

The proposed route would follow electric power pylons all the way from a point near the airport to the bypass road in Koh Kaew, a total distance of around 21 kilometers.

Large trucks would be barred from using the road.

Much of the land is owned by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, but the proposed route also cut though 210 plots of private land, 177 in Thalang district and 33 in Muang District.

Most of the land donated on Monday was owned by the Ngantawee company in Tambon Thepkrasattri Village 3, which was unable to develop the land due to state regulations on building near power lines.

The handover of plots on Monday clears the way for construction of a three-kilometer stretch of the proposed road.

Also attending the handover ceremony were Thalang District Chief Chaiwat Taephee and Paitoon Lertkai, head of the Phuket Provincial Land Office.

Gov Wichai said he had already discussed the need for a second north-south artery with residents of Tambon Thepkrasattri. Most agree the project is needed to decrease traffic congestion along Thepkrasattri Road, especially in light of the airport expansion plan that will almost double passenger traffic capacity to 11.5 million by the year 2016.

However, the governor admitted that not all of the landowners were prepared to turn over their land to the state without remuneration, especially those living in dwellings on small plots along the proposed route who have no place else to go.

The governor said he would meet with the landowners personally to work out a solution.

The governor said he hopes to begin the first phase of the project – bulldozing and grading a six-kilometer stretch of road – within two months’ time.

If all goes according to plan, the work will be carried out by the Phuket Office of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, he said.

— Kamol Pirat

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