Floodlights for Phuket’s Chalong Circle

PHUKET CITY: The latest plan to improve traffic conditions at Phuket’s Chalong Circle is to illuminate the thoroughfare with strong, white floodlights set atop of a 15-meter iron pole.

Phuket Highways Department official Sathaporn Sornchana said the extra lighting, comprising eight lamps in all, would help reduce accidents at the busy junction.

The pole would not obscure views of oncoming traffic as it would be just 15 inches in diameter at the base, tapering to just 4.5 inches at the top, he said.

The Phuket Highways Department office is funding the project at a cost of 3 million baht.

Project contractor CEC Construction Company Ltd began work on August 21.

The work is scheduled for completion by November 17 and the Highways Department will fine the company 1,500 baht per day if completion is delayed.

The 400-watt lamps to be set at the top of the pole would be much brighter than the standard 250-watt lights that line many Phuket roads, Mr Sathaporn said.

Meanwhile, both the Phuket Highways Department and Chalong Police have agreed not to install traffic lights at the intersection in future, he said.

“More than a year ago we tried installing lights at the intersection, but within just half an hour there were terrible traffic jams,” he said.

“Traffic seems to flow much better without the lights,” he added.

Chalong Circle has undergone numerous facelifts over the years.

In September last year, the Highways Department finally removed the large fountain that sat at the circle center for years.

Due to its appearance, the fountain had been referred to as ‘the birdbath’ by some locals.

Marque Rome, a 20-year resident of Chalong, said efforts to beautify Chalong Circle date back to the mid-90s when a private sector group donated money to spruce up the area with a small park known as the ‘peace circle’.

The fountain followed about 10 years ago, he said.

Mr Rome doesn’t think the ‘new look’ for Chalong Circle will do much to improve traffic flow in the area, however.

“Given the population projections in the future, I don’t really see that it will make any difference because the real problem is not Chalong Circle, but the number of cars increasing at a rate of several hundred a day in Phuket,” he said.

It is hoped that the improved lighting will help Chalong Police control traffic in the area.

There are currently five closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in or near the circle, four belonging to the Chalong Police and one more to the Chalong Tambon Administration Organization.

Thus far, the traffic police cameras haven’t been as effective in preventing traffic problems as originally hoped because the cameras lack the ability to zoom and usually produce images with insufficient resolution to allow police to read license plate numbers, an informed source told the Gazette.

— Atchaa Khamlo & Stephen Fein

Phuket News

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