Bypass road fully open

PHUKET CITY: Today marked a milestone in the 111-million-baht bypass road widening project, as the new northbound lane, blasted out of the hillside near Tesco-Lotus, was finally opened fully to traffic.

The opening caused some confusion among motorists, who had grown used to the counterflow traffic system using the southbound lane near Chan’s Antiques.

Phuket Highway Department Engineer Boonyakiat Kongketyai told the Gazette, “Officials took down the detour signs and put up new signs indicating that vehicles should take the new road.

“Unfortunately, many drivers ignored the signs and still tried to cross over onto the southbound lane, which is now one-way. We’ve been lucky that there have been no reports of accidents so far,” he said.

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“However, I think motorists will grow accustomed to using the new lane before long.”

Those who do figure it out are in for a treat, he said. “People heading north from Phuket City will enjoy a different, beautiful new view,” he said.

The entire project, which has tested the patience of island motorists since it began in May 2004, should be completed before the Songkran holidays. Only minor details such as putting up signs and painting road markings remain, K. Boonyakiat said.

The project, originally scheduled for completion in just 210 days, is now fast approaching the two-year mark.

Much of the delay resulted from government fumbling in issuing the necessary blasting license to project contractors Chiang Rai Harn Charoen Enterprise Company, which last week also had its rock crushing equipment seized for operating without a permit (see here).

Phuket News
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