Thailand, Phuket LRT Targets Funding in 2017

Thailand, Phuket LRT Targets Funding in 2017 :Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada announced yesterday that construction of the Phuket Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project could start as soon as next year.

The announcement was made on 25 July 2016 during a committee meeting to discuss traffic in Thailand’s southern province main island.

Vice Governor Khajornkiet Rakpanichmanee, Phuket Highways Office Director Patiwetwutisak Sukkhee and other officials also attended the meeting, during which a representative from the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTPP) provided details regarding the LRT construction plan.

Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada explained that the original plans for the LRT are being revisited, in order to make them more suitable for each area through which it will pass. The improved plans will accommodate the new infrastructure which has been built along Thepkrasattri Road and will apparently affect local residents less than before.

The Governor concluded that “after the adjustments are complete we will add this project to our list in the 2017 budget so we can get the funds to get construction started.”

According to earlier statements made by Project Manager and OTPP Secretary Sirigate Apirat to the Phuket Gazette the Ministry of Transport has requested that the OTPP revises the numerous road crossings planned along the route, in order to reduce the possibility of accidents at intersections. Initial plans for road crossings with barriers along the tracks were scrapped in March 2016, forcing the OTPP to make new plans for underpasses instead.

The 60 km LRT line will run north-south, connecting Phuket airport and Downtown. It will start at Tha Noon on the southern tip of Phang Nga, on the north side of the bridges from Phuket to the mainland, cross the Sarasin Bridge, follow Thepkrassatri Road almost the whole way to Phuket Town, pass through the town center, head south along Chao Fa East Road and terminate just north of Chalong Circle. It will detour from Thepkrassatri Road in the north to take in Phuket International Airport.
Services will run mostly on single track rails, but selected sections will be double track to allow vehicles heading in opposite directions to pass one another. Travelling from Tha Noon to Chalong will take approximately 1.5 hours; the trip from the airport to Downtown will take around 45 minutes.
Current plans envisage the construction of 23 stations. Chinese, European and Korean operators have expressed interest in getting involved in the project.

Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand and is located in the Andaman Sea. It has a population of over 600,000 residents and is in desperate need of sorting out its traffic issues in order to further boost tourism.

Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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