Fresh funds to put Chalong Dam construction back online

PHUKET: A 180-million-baht budget has been allocated to restart the stalled-out Chalong Dam project, which was originally slated for completion in 2013, revealed Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong in an exclusive interview earlier this week.

“The project stopped due to budget issues, as it ended up costing significantly more than was planned,” Governor Nisit said. “With the newly allocated budget, the contractor will be able to complete the project, which is important for residents in Chalong and nearby areas.”

The allocated money will come from the Thai Khem Kaeng (Strong Thailand) fund, which was established by former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The funds are expected to be disbursed in October.

“The project was originally allocated 449mn baht. However, when we realized it couldn’t be finished by the 2013 deadline, the budget was cut,” said Panuphan Seneewong, site manager and senior engineer of the Royal Irrigation Department. “At the time, we had only spent about 300mn baht.”

A number of unanticipated issues inflated the budget for the project and forced it to a halt.

“We expected a different soil composition at the site, something with a lot more clay that we could then use for the construction of the east side of the reservoir,” Mr Panuphan explained. “Despite this issue, we could have made it work by continuing to blast the granite bedrock in the area. However, we had to stop due to a number of complaints being filed by the local community about the noise.”

With the anticipated clay and bedrock removed from the plan, the team had to return to the drawing board.

“We considered trucking in the clay we needed, but it would have just cost too much. So, we are using geo-textiles to help reinforce the dam,” Mr Panuphan said.

“Once the project is complete, the reservoir will be more than 4 million square meters.”

— Chutharat Plerin

Phuket News

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