PIH “bypass turnoff’to be closed

PHUKET: A provincial committee on traffic safety has decided to block the dangerous turnoff to Phuket International Hospital (PIH) from the bypass road southbound lanes for a trial period of one month.

The committee, chaired by Phuket Vice-Governor Smith Palawatvichai, came to a unanimous decision on the issue at a meeting held last Thursday afternoon.

Signs warning motorists that U-turns are forbidden at the crossover are routinely ignored by motorists wanting to reverse directions without going all the way to the designated U-turn near Central Festival, committee members said.

The turnoff has been the site of at least seven accidents between February and May, traffic police reported.

Because the turnoff allows motorists to cut across a downhill section of the bypass road where northbound traffic flows at high speed, collisions tend to be disastrous.

Rather than accept the dangerous turnoff as a source of business right on its doorstep, the management at PIH sent a complaint to the Governor explaining the dangerous situation there.

Saroj Suwinchai, director of the Phuket Provincial Highways Office, said his staff will soon erect a sign informing motorists that the turnoff will close within seven to 10 days.

After that, concrete barriers will block entry to all vehicles for one month.

A similar turnoff a few hundred meters north, in front of Index Living Mall, was closed at the end of last year for the same reason.

A total of 440 people have been charged with traffic violations on the bypass road from November 2007 to May 2008, the committee was told.

Meanwhile, across town, the one-way system on the access road to Phuket Rajabhat University has been declared a success after a three-month trial period and will remain indefinitely.

Phuket News

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