Thailand’s Highways Dept unveils 20-year plan to develop the nation’s interprovincial motorway network

Construction News
A car travels on the Phitsanulok-Lom Sak section of Highway 12 which was expanded from two lanes to four lanes in June. (Photo: Department of Highways)

Thailand’s Highways Dept unveils 20-year plan to develop the nation’s interprovincial motorway network

More than 1,900km of new roads eyed

The Department of Highways on Monday unveiled a 20-year plan to develop the nation’s interprovincial motorway network, which will see 1,926 kilometres of new highways across the country.

The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Eastin Grand Hotel in Bangkok’s Phaya Thai district yesterday by the DoH’s deputy director-general, Piyapong Jiwattanakulpaisarn.

At the event, Mr Piyapong said the International Engineering Consultants Co Ltd, along with TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Public Co Ltd, PSK Consultants Co Ltd, were contracted by the DoH in 2021 to carry out a pre-feasibility study for the updated Motorway-Rail Map (MR Map) project.

The result, he said, will be presented to the Transport Ministry by the end of the year. Once approved by the ministry, the project will be proposed to the cabinet for further approval.

The pre-feasibility study is focusing on possible improvements to the original MR Map, which details plans for future highways and other public transport lines which will connect Thailand to its neighbouring countries.

First proposed in 1997, the original MR Map was last updated in 2016. The latest revisions are aimed towards turning Thailand into a regional transport and logistics hub.

According to the study, the first phase of upgrades should take place in the first five years of the 20-year plan. The phase, which consists of nine projects worth 457 billion baht, would see 331km of new highways constructed by the government.

The nine projects include the extension of the Uttaraphimuk Elevated Highway, also known as the Don Muang tollway, between Rangsit-Bang Pa-in; the extension of Bang Khun Thian-Bang Bua Thong Motorway; the extension of Bang Bua Thong-Bang Pa-in Motorway; the construction of a bypass route connecting the western and eastern rings of Kanchanaphisek Road; Nakhon Pathom-Pak Tho Motorway; Songkhla-Sadao Motorway; upgrades to the Chatuchote Expressway, the Eastern side of the 3rd Outer Ring Road and Chumphon-Ranong highway.

The projects under the first phase of the master plan are estimated to be worth 413.2 billion baht, while those in the latter are worth 775.9 billion baht.

Agencies under the Transport Ministry — such as the Expressway Authority of Thailand, the State Railway of Thailand and the DoH — will supervise the MR Map projects, Mr Piyapong added.