Department of Highways announces Rama II Road upgrades will be completed in 2025

Construction News
Rama II Road. Photo taken August 2023. File photo

Department of Highways announces Rama II Road upgrades will be completed in 2025

There is an end in sight to the ongoing construction of the main route between Bangkok and the south of Thailand.

The Department of Highways has confirmed that the long-awaited upgrades to Rama II Road, a key artery to Thailand’s southern region, are set to be completed by 2025.

The Department of Highways (DOH) and the Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT) recently moved to address some of the challenges brought about by the extensive construction work on the road, which is one of the main routes to Cha-am and Hua Hin.

The move to expedite the construction of the expressway came amid reports that congestion and delays as a result of the project were among the reasons that were putting tourists off from visiting Hua Hin.

The news even led to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin ordering the Ministry of Transport to expedite the construction process or be prepared to face repercussions, as well as vowing to penalise the contractors who may be responsible for the delays in the construction.

The upgrades, including the construction of the elevated Rama 3-Dao Khanong road and expressway, aim to alleviate the chronic congestion that has plagued the area, which sees over 250,000 vehicles daily.

The density of traffic, coupled with the road’s crucial link to the south, has made managing detours and traffic flow around construction sites a considerable challenge, leading to delays in the project’s completion.

Director-General of the DOH, Sarawut Songsivilai, revealed that Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit has directed the DOH, EXAT, and related agencies to expedite the construction process along Highway No. 35 (Rama 2 Road) from Dao Khanong to Wang Manao.

The aim is to restore public confidence in the route’s viability for travel and to minimize the impact on the local community and road users.

Current projects under the umbrella of these upgrades include the Thonburi-Pak Tho section of the elevated highway at the Bang Khun Thian-Ekkachai junction, and the expressway No. 82 from Ekkachai to Ban Phaeo. Additionally, the expressway project extending from Rama 3 through Dao Khanong to the outer western Bangkok ring road, managed by EXAT, is expected to significantly enhance travel efficiency upon its completion in 2025.

To address safety concerns and minimize disruptions, a “Double Safety” measure has been implemented, restricting construction activities to nighttime hours between 21:00 and 05:00. In addition, construction on the route will be paused during Songkran – a period of large amounts of traffic on Thailand’s roads.

Meanwhile, Hua Hin Mayor Nopporn Wutthikul has countered claims of declining tourism. He said that Hua Hin remains a bustling tourist destination, with high hotel occupancy rates and a vibrant scene at beaches and walking streets.

The Mayor welcomed the Ministry of Transport’s management on the issue and expressed optimism that the completion of the road surface work would enhance traffic flow for residents and tourists alike, particularly during the Songkran festival.

Construction on Rama II began in 1970 and appears to be an endless project.

Especially over the last two decades, continuous construction and nighttime repairs have resulted in road accidents and fatalities.

Over the last fifty years, Rama II has transformed from a four-lane highway into a huge 14-lane highway, yet traffic congestion has only intensified.

The most recent attempt to alleviate this issue involves constructing an elevated expressway, a project that has been in progress for the best part of ten years.