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Phuket’s first underpass opens as construction continues

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PHUKET: The 600-million-baht underpass located beside the Central Festival Phuket shopping mall is now open to northbound vehicles, Phuket Highways Office Director Samak Luedwonghad confirmed to the Phuket Gazette today.

The underpass was opened on Saturday from 10am to noon and then opened to traffic again today after it was determined that the road surface for northbound traffic at ground level was unsafe.

“After opening the underpass for two hours on Saturday, we closed it to allow traffic to travel as normal. However, we discovered yesterday that the road surface wasn’t safe for northbound traffic due to drainage issues derived from the recent heavy rains,” Mr Samak said.

Though the underpass is open, the northbound traffic cannot make a left-hand turn toward Makro along Wichit Songkram Road. Those wanting to turn toward Kathu are advised to drive north until they can access Bang Yai Road.

The underpass was originally slated to open for a mid-May trial, but was set back by heavy rains (story here).

The unofficial opening of the underpass today comes days ahead of the planned opening at the end of the week. However, with the project 85 per cent complete it is expected to be functioning smoothly by next week and completely finished by the beginning of October.

“Construction workers are focusing on repairing the road surface and removing construction waste from the roadway. Motorists should be able to make left-hand turns toward Kathu by next week,” Mr Samak said.

Mr Samak urged motorists to drive carefully while the underpass is still under construction and to be patient with any tailbacks.

“Please drive slowly and carefully. We have only one lane open for northbound traffic right now. Any accidents there would produce enormous tailbacks,” Mr Samak said.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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