Phuket light rail modifications announced

PHUKET: A number of adjustments to the greatly-anticipated Phuket light rail project, including the scheming in of a flyover station at the airport, was announced by officials from the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) during site inspections this morning.

The changes include modifications of the light rail route from Phuket International Airport to Phuket Town due to the airport expansion, as well as underpasses, traffic congestion and mangrove conservation efforts.

“The plan now has the tracks running along Highway 4026 from the airport to Thepkrasattri Road, instead of parallel with the airport’s runway along Highway 4031,” explained Sirigate Apirat, the project secretary for OTP.

Although Bangku Station will remain at its original location, officials are now considering building the station underground to adjust for concerns about traffic congestion.

Also, to prevent congestion on Chao Fa East Road, which would be caused by the tram forcing the road down to a single lane in each direction, it was suggested that the plan be adjusted to have the tracks follow Chao Fa West Road.

The project, which has yet to pass its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), was also destined to have pillars pushing into protected mangroves in the Klong Koh Pee area.

“We had to readjust the route so that it avoids the mangroves,” Mr Sirigate said.

“The whole plan, including adjustments to the budget for the extra expenses in changing the airport station and building the flyover, but excluding the EIA proposal, must be finished by the end of the year.”

— Nattha Thepbamrung

Phuket News
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