Officials announce alternative routes for Chalong Underpass

PHUKET: Officials have released alternative routes for the first and second phase of the Chalong Underpass, with construction slated to start next month.

“Though we do have routes sorted out for the first two phases of the project, we are still negotiating with private land owners in order to secure necessary alternative routes for phase three and four, which will affect those needing to access Rawai and Nai Harn,” Chalermpol Wongkiattikun, project engineer from the Department of Highways, told the Phuket Gazette.

The first phase of construction will be along 150 meters of Chao Fa West Road, while the second phase will be a 350-meter expansion of the construction from phase one.

“We will only be closing one lane in each direction of Chao Fa West Road. However, given the traffic congestion at the site, we suggest motorists utilize alternative routes,” said Mr Chalermphol.

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Alternative routes for motorists needing east coast-Chalong access will be along Soi Yot Sane 2 or Soi Phratthana to connect with Patak Road. Those needing north-south access, as well as access to Chalong Pier, will need to take Chao Fa East Road. The closest road to the construction site that connects Chao Fa East and West is Luang Pho Chaem Road, adjacent to Wat Chalong.

“It will take about six months to complete the first two phases of the project. By that time, we expect negotiations with landowners to be finished,” Mr Chalermphol said.

Phase three will consist of 150m of construction on Wiset Road with phase four being a 350m expansion along the road.

“We are fully aware that the construction will worsen the traffic situation. However, it will provide a long-term solution to the current issue at the roundabout,” Mr Chalermphol said.

Though the government is looking to expropriate certain sections of land for phase three and four, Samak Luedwonghad, director of the Phuket Highways Office, confirmed that no new roads will be constructed to alleviate traffic congestion during construction (story here).

“Please be patient. Once the projects are complete, traffic flow will be much smoother,” Mr Samak added.

In April last year, local residents voted for one of several options for the Chalong Underpass: a two-way underpass, stretching one kilometer long, that joins Chao Fa West Road and Wiset Road (story here).

The Chalong underpass passed its final public hearing in August. The final plan showed that the underpass would have two four-meter lanes divided by a 0.5-meter median, which will have road studs and flexible poles. It will be a total of 10.5 meters wide and no less than five meters tall. It will include footpaths on each side (story here).

— Chutharat Plerin

Phuket News

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