Thai PM reviews plans to fix Phuket traffic

Construction News
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin points to a proposed elevated road connecting to Highway 4027 to speed travel the airport in Thalang district of Phuket during a meeting with local authorities on Friday. (Photo: Government House)

Thai PM reviews plans to fix Phuket traffic

Srettha stresses importance of improving infrastructure, proposes seaplane base to serve island-hoppers

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin met local authorities in Phuket on Friday to follow up on construction plans aimed at alleviating traffic congestion in the island province.

The meeting at Phuket International Airport focused on solutions to improve traffic movement as congestion is affecting the island’s vital tourism industry.

Participants including Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit discussed short- and long-term plans to mitigate road congestion, such as tunnel construction on the Kathu-Pa Tong route.

Mr Srettha urged various agencies to expedite tunnel construction, which began under the Yingluck Shinawatra government, with an initial budget of 8 billion baht, which is now 16 billion baht.

“I am confident the government’s policy to upgrade the island’s infrastructure will help improve the living conditions of local people,” he said.

Phuket has high potential for business growth, but traffic congestion has discouraged potential investors as well as tourists from visiting the island.

“If we can shorten the travel time to a destination from two hours to about 30 minutes, it will be great, and the tunnel will help us achieve that goal,” he said.

The prime minister also suggested the provincial governor study how the Maldives in the Indian Ocean uses seaplanes and built a seaplane base.

Mr Srettha said a seaplane base could help connect routes between islands in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, allowing tourists to hop from Phuket to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan in Surat Thani.

A seaplane base would also strengthen the economic infrastructure of the South, he added.

The premier also inspected the construction site of a new elevated road connecting to Highway 4027 to shorten travel time to the airport in Thalang district.

Mr Sophon said budgets had been allocated for the construction of the tunnel and the elevated road, adding that the premier was also looking for other routes to shorten travel time for people.

Phuket governor Sophon Suwannarat said the premier stressed the importance of resolving traffic problems by improving infrastructure.

Deputy governor Sattha Thongkham also urged the government to help push key transport infrastructure projects.

Those projects include a new route from Bang Muang Mai to the airport, the expansion of a traffic lane on Highway 4027, the elevated road at a junction where Highways 402, 4027 and 4025 meet, and the study of a new Sarasin Bridge.