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Phuket underpass project unveiled

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Phuket underpass project unveiled | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosutthirak at Phuket”s Boat Lagoon Resort Tuesday, chaired the third and final public hearing on the Bang Khu intersection improvement project, at which it was announced that a two-lane underpass construction had been selected over other designs.

At the meeting, project manager Kaweerat Deeprasertwong announced the selected design for the two-lane underpass.

“We chose this design because it has the least impact on local residents and the environment,” Mr Kaweerat said.

“Motorcycles will not be permitted to use the underpass. Instead, motorcycles coming from Phuket Town heading toward the airport will use a dedicated lane on the surface. They will be subject to traffic light control at the junction,” he said.

“Vehicles coming from the airport to Phuket Town will travel on a three-lane road that bypasses the traffic lights. The road from the airport turning right towards Patong will also be three lanes, however the flow will be controlled by traffic lights,” he added.

Mr Kaweerat revealed another traffic-flow plan drawn up in response to comments made by local residents at previous public hearings.

“After all the comments from local residents, we realized that Koh Kaew intersection (north of Bang Khu) is another heavy-traffic area during peak hours. So we’ve come up with plan to improve traffic flow there,” said Mr Kaweerat.

“Currently, the road in that area consists of six lanes, three on each side. We plan expand the road to eight lanes, four on each side. This will manage the traffic better with shorter waiting times at the traffic lights from each direction,” he added.

Earthquakes are a new experience for the people of Phuket, but the underpass will be built to withstand any future tremors, Mr Kaweerat said.

“We designed the underpass to handle earthquakes up to about 6.0 on the Richter scale,” Mr Kaweerat said.

Somporn Ratanaburi, a civil engineer with the Department of Highways, detailed some aspects of upcoming underpass projects.

The traffic at Thainaan [Central Festival] Intersection and Tesco Lotus Intersection are also bad during peak hours, he explained.

“We are going to solve the traffic issue at these two intersections with underpasses. The Thainaan Intersection underpass project has already received a budget of 600 million baht for fiscal 2012 and is ready for construction,” said Mr Somporn.

“Both the Bang Khu Intersection and the Thainaan Intersection will use the same type of underpass. The Department of Highways hired a consulting company to study and create an underpass design that will be the most appropriate for traffic volume, while minimizing impact on local residents and the environment,” he said.

“The project at Bang Khu Intersection, to cost about 450mn baht, is part of our 10-year traffic plan. We are working on the budget right now, but the project will definitely be moving forward,” he added.

Mr Somporn also addressed concerns about traffic during the construction of the underpass.

“We plan to start the project by expanding the road. This way we will have more lanes available for vehicles when it comes time to close one side of the road for construction,” he said.

“The Thainaan Intersection underpass project is under the final budget review process. Once we establish the exact costs we will open it up for bidding to companies interested in the contract,” he said.

“Construction will start soon since the budget for the fiscal year 2012 is available,” he added.

Despite the public hearing process, there are still some local residents who are unhappy with the final plan.

Yotin Klinbuakaew, from Koh Kaew Village 5, pointed out that those who are directly affected by the road expansion project are residents of Villages 4 and 5. However, they still do not know exactly the project will impact their lives.

“I’m not interested in talking about the underpass project, because everyone in Phuket already knows about it. However, the road expansion project in Koh Kaew area needs to be addressed. If they are going to start a mega-project in front of our houses, don’t you think we have a right to know the details about the project?” he asked.

“Since this project will completely change our lives, I would suggest the organizers come to the mosque in Koh Kaew Moo 4 and Moo 5 to hear what we think before they make any decision,” he said.

Mr Yotin went on to raise several concerns about traffic flow in the area, citing the issue of cars coming out of the Nanachart Road [the access road to British International School] having to quickly cut across three lanes of traffic in order to get to the u-turn to head south.

“I live in that area and I see near misses every day. That’s why I’m concerned about this issue,” he explained.

They are also worried about an expected increase in the future traffic volume of traffic as many residential estates now under construction in the area are completed.

“I would like to thank all villagers who attended the public hearing,” said Mr Kaweerat. “I have noted all of their comments and will use them to improve our plan. I want this project to have minimal impact on local residents. After all, we intend to make people’s lives easier with this project,” he concluded.

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend

The Thaiger

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Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Phuket has received a much-needed 300 million baht boost over the 4 day long weekend with around 54,000 tourists flocking to the island from last Thursday through to yesterday.

Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, reports that the average expenditure per visitor was about 5,500 baht, which was higher than the average spend for a Thai tourist to Phuket 2 years ago. She also noted that random checks on hotels showed that occupancy rates climbed to about 35%, with most guests staying 2 nights. But most of Phuket’s hotels remain closed.

Nanthasiri also says that many of the tourists concentrated themselves in the Phuket Old Town area, especially around Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Dibuk Road in order to enjoy at the Sino-Portuguese shophouse architecture and historical locations. In fact much of Phuket Town, including its many markets and alley eateries, were doing roaring business, The Thaiger can vouch for the heavy traffic, on the roads and footpaths, over the past 4 days.

“This special holiday made Phuket tourism livelier, even though it was not as same as the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In fact, despite the welcome surge of visitors, it was still a long, long way from its previous tourist levels with much of the west coast, which has largely catered for the international tourist traffic, was still very quiet in places like Patong, Kata and Karon.

Phuket wasnt the only destination that has profited off of the long weekend as Chiang Mai saw droves of Thai tourists visiting its Royal Park Rajapruek as well as the northern city’s other nearby national parks and tourist areas. Visitors came from all over to see the blossoming of flowers in a beautiful display at the park as well as enjoying the air-purifying flowers as they relaxed. Tourists were able to rent a bicycle for 60 baht if they wanted to exercise while taking in the scenery and could also pay a visit to the orchid greenhouse, which hosts a variety of orchids in bloom. TripAdvisor recommends to set aside 2 hours to visit the park.

Next holiday weekend, on November 27 and 28, Pattaya is expected to get a tourism boost as its annual fireworks festivalis set to bring in travellers who have taken advantage of package deals offered by some beachside hotels. Such packages were offered for advance bookings, where holidaymakers could view the firework shows on the rooftops of their hotels. The firework displays are said to be long with breaks of entertainment-packed shows, featuring live music and student bands amongst others.

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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