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Motorcyclist’s death finally prompts action to fix airport road



PHUKET: Following the death of a 22-year-old motorcyclist who broke his neck Thursday night ramming into a concrete blockade on the road alongside the Phuket Airport runway, authorities have requested a 72 million baht budget to fix and widen the road.

The road was blocked off with four heavy-duty blocks four months ago after heavy rains caused a landslide (story here).

Following the fatal accident on November 24 (story here), locals put a sign on the barrier that read: ‘How many more deaths do you want before you fix it?’ and posted photos of the road block on social media.

Facebook user Sulaimarn Kaewngamdee on Monday posted 14 pictures and 12 videos highlighting the dangerous conditions and demanding answers from the authorities.

The Facebook post read: “This road has been closed for months, causing difficulties for locals, who have to use alternative routes to get to their neighborhood. No one was notified in person – just a sign saying the road was closed with the date September 10, 2016. However, gaps were left in the barrier, so motorcyclists could still get through, making it very dangerous. So is the road closed or not? Tourists have also gotten lost there while following maps. Phuket is world-class destination. Where are the relevant officers? Please take action.”

The protests prompted officials from Thalang District, the Phuket Highways Office, Phuket International Airport and the governor’s office to meet on Tuesday to find a solution, later announcing a proposal to restore and widen the road, estimating that the project would take at least six months if ever approved.

Mai Khao Moo 6 Village headman Worawit Srisakukam was also present at the meeting. “The road used to belong to the Highways Department but was transferred to Airports of Thailand PLC,” he said. “They had plans to widen the road to eight meters, but it looks like the plans were forgotten until this fatal accident,” he said.

Mr Worawit said he expected it would take a few months before the proposed budget to make the road safe was approved by the central government.

“It should be no later than, say January or February that the road-widening is approved. The engineers say it can be completed in 180 days,” he said.

Additional reporting by Winai Sarot

— Kongleaphy Keam


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