Highway, industrial zone proposed as solutions to Thailand’s flooding problems

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Experts are proposing a new highway linking Ratchaburi and Kamphaeng Phet provinces, western and eastern floodways, a new economic zone and an outer ring road for eastern Bangkok as solutions to flooding problems.

The Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development (SCRF), chaired by Virabongsa Ramangkura, plans to seek a new economic zone for relocation of some factories.

Chulit Wacharasin, an executive of Panya Consultants Co _ the company that earlier proposed digging up Bang Na-Trat Road to drain water _ proposed a plan to build floodways to drain water, a new highway and an outer ring road. All in all, the drainage capacity under the plan is 4,500 cubic metres a second.

A highway with side canals between Ratchaburi and Kamphaeng Phet is the best alternative, but the company has yet to estimate construction costs.

The western floodway from Nakhon Sawan to the Mae Klong River would have a draining capacity of 1,000 cubic metres per second.

Improvements to the Chainat-Pasak canal would feature an eastern floodway with drainage capacity of 1,000 cubic metres a second, at an estimated cost of 50 billion baht.

An outer eastern ring road with floodway alongside would drain 500 cubic metres a second and cost 50 billion baht. The road would pass Bang Pa-in in Ayutthaya, Lam Luk Ka in Pathum Thani, Nong Chok in Bangkok and Bang Phli in Samut Prakan.

Those projects must coincide with improvements in town planning, land utilisation and road obstruction. Other essentials include an early-warning system and a limit on rice cultivation to twice a year.

What the plan does not need is politics. Mr Chulit views the government’s existing plan as top-down and lacking input from communities.

Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board and secretary of the SCRF, said the committee was considering a new economic zone for industrial areas.

A study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency found that 70% of Japanese investors favour existing locations while 30% want to move to other locations in Thailand.

Mr Arkhom said the new zone should be located along the east-west corridor (Myanmar-Thailand-Laos-Vietnam) or the south-south corridor (Myanmar-Thailand-Cambodia).

For that reason, Nakhon Ratchasima looks promising. The location must also create linkage of existing industrial areas with neighbouring countries.

The government needs to invest in infrastructure and logistics while the Board of Investment considers privileges for new investments.

Source and Read more: http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/economics/277414/highway-industrial-zone-proposed

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