Mea culpa, says highways chief

PHUKET: Phuket Provincial Highways Office (PPHO) Chief Thanit Sakiya has accepted responsibility for not delivering on a promise he made to Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura to have the surface of the bypass road completed by December 26 last year.

On December 20, 2005, Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura ordered the road surfacing work finished by the December 26 deadline so as to avoid inconveniencing visitors to tsunami memorial ceremonies on Phuket. It didn’t happen.

K. Thanit told the media yesterday, “If I had known on Dec 20 that the mobile stone grinder had had a problem on December 15, I would not have promised the Governor we’d finish the road [surfacing] on time.” He added that he accepted responsibility for not having all the information needed to carry out his promise.

Work to expand the road began May 7, 2004 and was originally supposed to end by September 28 last year. However, progress slowed when contractors were forced to wait 250 days for permission to use explosives for blasting work and the original contract had to be extended.

A new target date for completion was then set: January 26, 2006.

K. Thanyakit said, “In fact, looking at what remains to be done at this stage, the project is not likely to be completed until the end of March this year.”

Highways Department Engineer Boonyakiat Kongketyai blamed the slow progress on the contractor and on the condition of the machinery used.

He explained that the contractor, Chiang Rai Harn Charoen Enterprise Ltd, experienced delays because approval to buy spare parts and for repairs had to be obtained from the company’s headquarters in Chiang Rai Province. Some of the equipment had deteriorated, and no longer functioned at optimum levels.

According to the contract, if the job is not completed on time, Chiang Rai Harn Charoen faces penalties of 33,390 baht for each day the project goes past the January 26 deadline.

Phuket News

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