PHUKET: Contracts for the construction of two new underpasses, one at Chalong Circle and the other at Bang Ku Intersection, are set to be signed on Monday.
After the contracts are signed, work is likely to start on Tuesday, Samak Luedwonghad, director of the Phuket Highways Office, told the Phuket Gazette yesterday.
“The revised budget for the Bang Ku underpass is about 597 million baht, down from 600mn. The project is being handled by the Highways Department and construction will be undertaken by Italian-Thai [Ital-Thai] Development Plc,” said Mr Samak. “Ital-Thai is ready to break ground.”
In regards to the Chalong Circle underpass, Mr Samak expressed worry over land in the area that needed to be expropriated before work could begin.
“We are a bit concerned about this project because we need to expropriate land for part of it. Nevertheless, we checked the plots already and saw that they did not have any buildings on them,” he said.
The budget for this underpass has been set at 550mn baht, and the contractor is Civil Engineering Co Ltd, Mr Samak added.
According to the contracts, both projects will have to be completed within 780 days.
“We will talk to the locals again about the projects, but we don’t think we will face any resistance, as we have already held public hearings and the locals said that they want the underpass,” said Mr Samak.
The Chalong underpass passed its final public hearing in August (story here), when Paisarn Suwannarak, a specialist engineer from the Department of Highways, revealed that the underpass would feature four-meter-wide lanes divided by a 0.5-meter median, with road studs and flexible poles.
The tunnel itself – 10.5 meters wide and no less than five meters high – will be 300 meters long.
However, the one-kilometer route will start in front of Muang Phuket School on Wiset Road and end near Home Pro Village on Chao Fa West Road, said Mr Paisarn.
Mr Samak noted yesterday that he is still working to find alternative routes for motorists to use during construction of the underpasses to avoid serious traffic jams.
“We are aware of the traffic congestion that can result from construction of such a long project. However, we will do our best to find alternative routes for motorists,” he said.
“After both projects are complete, traffic flow will be much smoother.”
Mr Samak confirmed to the Gazette in January that his office will not create any new roads to alleviate traffic while the construction is underway (story here).
— Chutharat Plerin
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