The cabinet on Tuesday approved the 95.1-billion-baht Orange Line electric rail line, which is set for completion in August 2022.
The state-run Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) will manage the Bangkok project. Civil engineering work is priced at 85.48 billion baht with the remaining 9.62 billion baht tabbed for land expropriation. The state enterprise plans to open bidding in May.
The 21.2-kilometre electric railway will stretch from the Thailand Cultural Centre in Huai Khwang district at the centre of the capital to Min Buri district in eastern Bangkok and includes a 12km underground section and a 9km elevated part. Seventeen stations are planned along the route.
Construction will be funded by the national budget and loans to be arranged by the Finance Ministry.
Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the Transport Ministry expected the rate of return of the project at 13.96% as the link would serve 114,000 passengers per day initially.
If the link is extended by 17.5km westward to Taling Chan district, the whole system will carry 500,000 passengers daily. The extension cost is estimated at 85.31 billion baht.