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Koreans step up campaign for Phuket light-rail project



PHUKET: Korean mega-project developer Dohwa Engineering Co Ltd yesterday unveiled a series of proposed light-rail service routes across Phuket, including Patong.

Sung-Min Lee, president of Dohwa’s Railway Metro Division, explained to Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha at Provincial Hall that the proposed routes were part of the company’s draft master plan.

Although other mass-transit options that were presented included modern trams, articulated buses and small bus networks, much of the focus of the presentation was on developing a light-rail service for Phuket.

“We have been inspecting Phuket’s public transportation for two days. So far we have seen that Phuket has transportation problems and we have seen a lot of traffic jams,” said Mr Lee.

He highlighted that the first stage of the proposed light-rail service to be rolled out would link the airport with Phuket Town, which he dubbed the “Phuket Airport Rail Link”.

Phase 1, covering 76 kilometers, would include:

Route 1 – Phuket Airport to Chalong Circle (click here for pop-up map)
Route 2 – Phuket Town to Patong (click here)
Route 3 – Bang Khu intersection to Chalong Circle (click here)

Phase 2, covering 77 kilometers, would include:

Route 4 – Heroine’s Monument to Patong, via Cherng Talay
Route 5 – Patong to Kata, then direct to Chalong Circle
Route 6 – Kata to Chalong Circle, via Phromthep Cape
Route 7 – Heroine’s Monument to Muang Mai, Thalang, via Pa Khlok
(click here for pop-up map)

Phuket Tourist Association Vice President Sarayuth Mallam gave a word of warning to the visitors about developing a light-rail service in Patong.

“Please be mindful if you would like to have a light-rail in Patong, think especially carefully about where the station would be, because Patong is already a mess now,” Mr Sarayuth cautioned.

“I would love to see this project come true, but please find the best solution for Phuket people,” he added.

Mr Lee explained his team would now return to Korea to draw up a final draft of their master plan.

He also formally invited Gov Tri to see firsthand Dohwa’s accomplishments in Korea.

“This company is showing a clear interest in investing in Phuket’s public transportation. They are paying attention to our requirements and they are offering to finance the project,” the governor said.

Governor Tri also confirmed to the Phuket Gazette that the tender to develop a mass-transit system for Phuket was now with the Phuket Attorney General’s Office in order to approve the wording within the contract’s terms.

“Once the wording has been approved we can move on to the next step. In the meantime, we still welcome other investors to present their ideas,” he said.

— Chutharat Plerin


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