BMA building flood drainage tunnel system

Construction News

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is building a system of giant drainage tunnels under the city to protect it from the annual threat of flooding, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said on Thursday.

The construction of the four huge tunnels is planned for completion in  five years at an estimated total cost of 16 billion baht, he said.

Construction of the first tunnel had began 10 years ago in eastern Bangkok. It would be completed in January.

Work on the Rama IX-Ramkhamhaeng tunnel began in 2001, when the late Samak Sundaravej was Bangkok governor. It had a budgeted cost of 2.09 billion baht.

Work on the second tunnel, Ratchadaphisek-Suthisarn, is expected to begin next year. Tenders will be called in December. It will have a diameter of 5 metres and a length of 6 kilometres, the governor said.

The third tunnel, the Don Mueang tunnel, is the biggest of all with a diameter of 6 metres and length of 13.5 kilometres.

The last tunnel, the Rama IX Park tunnel, will be 3 kilometres long, with an estimted cost of 995 million baht.

MR Sukhumbhand said the system would increase the current drainage capacity from 95 cubic metres a second to 240 cubic metres a second.

The tunnels will channel the floodwaters under Bangkok into the Chao Phraya River, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand.

For past decades solutions to flooding were ineffective and consumed a lot of money. The drainage tunnels will provide a sustained solution to the problem, he said.

“In just the last three years we’ve spent 11 billion baht on flood-prevention measures, but we still do not  have an enduring solution to the city’s flood problems,” the governor said.

Recently, the capital was threatened by flooding from the Chao Phraya River because of high tides, the flood surge from the North and the threat of heavy rainstorms.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported the death toll from the heavy flooding  in many provinces across the country since Oct 10 had risen to 203.

This was an increase of 18 from the 185 confirmed fatalities the department reported on Wednesday.

Other details on the flood toll also emerged on Thursday.

This year’s rice production is expected to drop by about 20 per cent as a direct result of the extensive flood  damage to farm fields, Thai Farmers Association president Prasit Boonchoey said.

Mr Prasit said the country usually produces about 10 million tonnes of rice paddy per year.  This year  the harvest is likely to be down by about 20 per cent.

But the drop in production would not cause shortages of rice, either for domestic consumption or export, because the country still has a considerable amount of rice in stock, he said.


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