Change of plans: Instead of knocking down the Ratchayothin flyover, the Green Line electric train will be built two metres above it, bridge over bridge. (Photo by Surapol Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) has decided to keep the Ratchayothin flyover, knocking back a proposal to demolish it for the northern Green Line electric railway from Mor Chit to Khu Khot in Pathum Thani.
The MRTA board on Friday decided to raise this extended section of the Green Line by two metres so it can pass above the existing flyover, said chairman Gen Yodyuth Boonyatikarn.
Previously the board was considering digging a car tunnel underneath Ratchayothin intersection, replacing the flyover, to allow the railway to pass across the intersection. (correction: not rail tunnel as earlier)
The tunnel option was criticised strongly by residents who stood to be affected. Work on the tunnel would have taken about three years, and caused severe traffic congestion, Gen Yodyuth said.
Under the option chosen by the MRTA board, the electric railway will be raised from 16m originally to 18m to avoid the Ratchayothin flyover.
Also, an elevated road will be constructed running below and alongside the electric railway and sharing the same support posts, said Gen Yodyuth.
This appears to be the best of the four options proposed as it would also help cut the construction cost by 1.2 billion baht compared to the underground option. The construction time also was shorter, which meant the impact on traffic would be less, he said.
A new environmental impact assessment and technical feasibility study would still be needed, he said.
The feasibility study will also include two proposals regarding the construction of an elevated road from the Ratchayothin intersection to either Sena Nikhom intersection or Kasetsart University intersection.
Planners hope the elevated road will help ease traffic along Phahon Yothin Road running through these three intersections.
A proposal to construct the elevated road from Ratchayothin intersection all the way to Kasetsart University intersection was put forward as a more efficient mechanism to deal with traffic congestion, said Gen Yodyuth.
The Green Line’s extended route will link the BTS’s Mor Chit station and run along Phahon Yothin Road to Saphan Mai in Bang Khen district and end in tambon Khu Khot in Pathum Thani’s Lam Luk Ka district. The Green Line’s Mor Chit-Khu Khot section is expected to serve 170,000 commuters a day and ease traffic problems between Bangkok and Pathum Thani.
The MRTA will discuss its board’s decision with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to see whether it has any more suggestions to make.
If the feasibility study suggests no problems, the MRTA will review its decision one last time before forwarding it to the Transport Ministry and cabinet for endorsement. A bid to find the contractor is then expected early next year, he said.