Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: As work on the 600-million-baht underpass at the Central Festival Phuket intersection gets underway, mounting concern among commuters now turns to seeking ways to cope with what promises to be a whole new level of motoring misery.

Government agencies, including traffic police, have freely admitted that work on the project, scheduled for completion in mid-October 2014, is expected to cause unprecedented traffic jams.

Unfortunately, their advice “to devise alternative routes to avoid the area” will come as little help to the many thousands of people who live, work and study in the area.

Traffic flow is now reduced to only two lanes each way on the bypass road, a situation that is expected to prevail throughout much of the two-year construction period. However, the jams will become considerably worse if the police continue to allow drivers to park in the left in front of Central Festival, in which case there will only be a single lane northboud on the bypass road.

Pleading for patience, authorities have effectively told the public that the short-term pain will justify the long-term gain.

About this, the Phuket Gazette maintains some very serious doubts. For a start, two years will seem more like an eternity to parents who try to get their children safely by car to the two schools located in the immediate vicinity: the Darasamuth and Wichit Songkram schools. There are many other large school complexes nearby that will likewise be seriously affected: HeadStart, Phuket Tai Hua and Kajonkietsuksa, to name just a few.

Many of these parents will be forced to leave their cars at home and take to the streets by motorbike. As is always the case in any sample among motorbike riders in Phuket, a certain percentage of these will inevitably be injured or killed in road accidents.

Tens of thousands of workers at many hundreds of retail outlets in the area will also suffer, as will unsuspecting tourists who find themselves entrapped in the gridlock.

Indeed, tourists will now face the prospect of having much of their holiday time swindled by the ever-increasing traffic problem – in addition to the norm of being ripped off by overpriced taxis.

The entire project appears to have a very serious design flaw. Those travelling east-west through the junction will eventually see some benefit, but the much larger volume of traffic north-south along Chao Fa West Road will find that the underpass does little to help them. This is because it does not address the main cause of all the current congestion in the area: the bottleneck just south of Wichit Songkram School, where Chao Fa West abruptly reduces to just one-and-a-half lanes in each direction.

When the project is finally completed, expect traffic congestion in this area to persist – if not worsen – as ever more vehicles pour in from the completed underpass and other directions.

For now, however, motorists may for the first time find themselves frozen in tailbacks with nothing but concrete walls to view and polluted air to breathe. Perhaps that might be a good time for them to contemplate the intentions of the architects of public transport deprivation on Phuket, and to reflect upon the reasons for the inability of so many successive governments to rectify it.
– Phuket Gazette

1

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay December 2, 2012 09:45:16AM

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2

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay

Would you have anything you might like to say about the underpass construction story and the traffic in that area, Bjay?

Posted by Referee December 2, 2012 10:00:43AM

Reply

0    0

3

The article talks about two years. But, gentlemen, we're talking three years. Furthermore, the problem arising at the Wirat Hong Yok Junction is a major concern as mentioned. Moreover, everybody wonders why an underpass? Nevertheless, authorities have done nothing to ease the upcoming congestion. I really feel pity for the shops in Central Festival and Home Works.

Posted by Phuket43 December 2, 2012 10:06:20AM

Reply

0    0

4

The article talks about two years. But, gentlemen, we're talking three years. Furthermore, the problem arising at the Wirat Hong Yok Junction is a major concern as mentioned. Moreover, everybody wonders why an underpass? Nevertheless, authorities have done nothing to ease the upcoming congestion. I really feel pity for the shops in Central Festival and Home Works.

Posted by Phuket43

" I really feel pity for the shops in Central Festival and Home Works." Yup, some of them are going to go broke for sure. The rental rates at those locations are already sky high and require very high traffic and revenue volumes for a business to survive. So there's no doubt at all that even a small drop in revenue will mean insolvency, if not bankruptcy, for those currently on thin margins.

Posted by Arthur Anderson December 2, 2012 10:27:32AM

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5

I've notice that the traffic junction at Tesco Lotus has been changed for the worse, and that has caused a very bad traffic jam also, all day. It should be changed back to the old system, where you can turn right or left when the light is green in either direction.

Posted by Sammy December 2, 2012 10:32:00AM

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6

I wonder what will happen to this underpath in a rainfall like this morning, combined with a power failure so the pumps (have they thought of installing pumps?) don't work.

Posted by Fritz Pinguin December 2, 2012 10:46:13AM

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7

Wouldn't an overpass have been more sensible? Just saying.

Posted by Mood December 2, 2012 12:35:48PM

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0    0

8

Wouldn't an overpass have been more sensible? Just saying.

Posted by Mood

I guess not. The government, and certainly Ital-Thai Construction Co Ltd, would have known if that were an option or not. If it were, it would have been implemented because it would have been cheaper. But, of course, it would have been horrifically ugly too, don't you think?

Posted by Insufferable December 2, 2012 12:54:11PM

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0    0

9

I think that organizing a 'green wave' over a distance of 3-5 km will help to improve the flow of through traffic.

I also propose that the "zips" takes place before the traffic lights at Texas Lotus. A separate lane for mortorbikes makes it safer.

Posted by Rene December 2, 2012 01:16:15PM

Reply

0    0

10

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay

Would you have anything you might like to say about the underpass construction story and the traffic in that area, Bjay?

Posted by Referee

He did. He stated that the construction, and high season, are being used as excuses to rip off tourists using the already obscenely expensive transport here.

Posted by Red Card December 2, 2012 01:26:34PM

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0    0

11

On Thursday evening (the day after the work started) the bypass road was gridlocked south-bound from Darasamut back almost as far as Tesco.

It was like that from before 16:00 to well after 19:00.

North bound was business as usual. The lane in front of Central was coned off and no one had parked there. The U-turn in front of Central was open as usual.

South from Central was unaffected.

Posted by CaptainJack December 2, 2012 01:59:01PM

Reply

0    0

12

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay

Would you have anything you might like to say about the underpass construction story and the traffic in that area, Bjay?

Posted by Referee

He did. He stated that the construction, and high season, are being used as excuses to rip off tourists using the already obscenely expensive transport here.

Posted by Red Card

Where did he mention "construction?" As for the rip off prices, I'm sure the Governor will sort it out. Oh crap, do I really believe what I said? Nah!

Posted by Laurie Howells December 2, 2012 02:57:36PM

Reply

0    0

13

Wouldn't an overpass have been more sensible? Just saying.

Posted by Mood

Just after I came to live here 9 years ago there was talk about having an underpass or overpass, but those responsible thought this was a wild idea and completely unnecessary.
'Stupid' I thought at the time, do it now.
'No' they said, 'let's wait until they overdevelop the adjacent area and cause absolute traffic chaos'.
Which is what happened

Posted by Mike December 2, 2012 04:02:29PM

Reply

0    0

14

Phuket will become another Bangkok...'soon, soon'...There will not be anything left of the beaches, they will become privatized, tourism will become a thing of the past, high rise apts. will appear everywhere..

OMG...I am in LA....

Posted by Ted December 2, 2012 05:02:20PM

Reply

0    0

15

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay

Would you have anything you might like to say about the underpass construction story and the traffic in that area, Bjay?

Posted by Referee

The short answer is no; it is clearly going to be a traumatic time for us all. My comments on this article related to "Indeed, tourists will now face the prospect of having much of their holiday time swindled by the ever-increasing traffic problem – in addition to the norm of being ripped off by overpriced taxis"! Or do you think this is not relevant? I do – one more nail in the coffin for Phuket's Tourism reputation!

Posted by Bjay December 2, 2012 07:37:01PM

Reply

0    0

15

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay

Would you have anything you might like to say about the underpass construction story and the traffic in that area, Bjay?

Posted by Referee

The short answer is no; it is clearly going to be a traumatic time for us all. My comments on this article related to "Indeed, tourists will now face the prospect of having much of their holiday time swindled by the ever-increasing traffic problem – in addition to the norm of being ripped off by overpriced taxis"! Or do you think this is not relevant? I do – one more nail in the coffin for Phuket's Tourism reputation!

Posted by Bjay December 2, 2012 07:37:01PM

Reply

0    0

14

Phuket will become another Bangkok...'soon, soon'...There will not be anything left of the beaches, they will become privatized, tourism will become a thing of the past, high rise apts. will appear everywhere..

OMG...I am in LA....

Posted by Ted December 2, 2012 05:02:20PM

Reply

0    0

13

Wouldn't an overpass have been more sensible? Just saying.

Posted by Mood

Just after I came to live here 9 years ago there was talk about having an underpass or overpass, but those responsible thought this was a wild idea and completely unnecessary.
'Stupid' I thought at the time, do it now.
'No' they said, 'let's wait until they overdevelop the adjacent area and cause absolute traffic chaos'.
Which is what happened

Posted by Mike December 2, 2012 04:02:29PM

Reply

0    0

12

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay

Would you have anything you might like to say about the underpass construction story and the traffic in that area, Bjay?

Posted by Referee

He did. He stated that the construction, and high season, are being used as excuses to rip off tourists using the already obscenely expensive transport here.

Posted by Red Card

Where did he mention "construction?" As for the rip off prices, I'm sure the Governor will sort it out. Oh crap, do I really believe what I said? Nah!

Posted by Laurie Howells December 2, 2012 02:57:36PM

Reply

0    0

11

On Thursday evening (the day after the work started) the bypass road was gridlocked south-bound from Darasamut back almost as far as Tesco.

It was like that from before 16:00 to well after 19:00.

North bound was business as usual. The lane in front of Central was coned off and no one had parked there. The U-turn in front of Central was open as usual.

South from Central was unaffected.

Posted by CaptainJack December 2, 2012 01:59:01PM

Reply

0    0

10

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay

Would you have anything you might like to say about the underpass construction story and the traffic in that area, Bjay?

Posted by Referee

He did. He stated that the construction, and high season, are being used as excuses to rip off tourists using the already obscenely expensive transport here.

Posted by Red Card December 2, 2012 01:26:34PM

Reply

0    0

9

I think that organizing a 'green wave' over a distance of 3-5 km will help to improve the flow of through traffic.

I also propose that the "zips" takes place before the traffic lights at Texas Lotus. A separate lane for mortorbikes makes it safer.

Posted by Rene December 2, 2012 01:16:15PM

Reply

0    0

8

Wouldn't an overpass have been more sensible? Just saying.

Posted by Mood

I guess not. The government, and certainly Ital-Thai Construction Co Ltd, would have known if that were an option or not. If it were, it would have been implemented because it would have been cheaper. But, of course, it would have been horrifically ugly too, don't you think?

Posted by Insufferable December 2, 2012 12:54:11PM

Reply

0    0

7

Wouldn't an overpass have been more sensible? Just saying.

Posted by Mood December 2, 2012 12:35:48PM

Reply

0    0

6

I wonder what will happen to this underpath in a rainfall like this morning, combined with a power failure so the pumps (have they thought of installing pumps?) don't work.

Posted by Fritz Pinguin December 2, 2012 10:46:13AM

Reply

0    0

5

I've notice that the traffic junction at Tesco Lotus has been changed for the worse, and that has caused a very bad traffic jam also, all day. It should be changed back to the old system, where you can turn right or left when the light is green in either direction.

Posted by Sammy December 2, 2012 10:32:00AM

Reply

0    0

4

The article talks about two years. But, gentlemen, we're talking three years. Furthermore, the problem arising at the Wirat Hong Yok Junction is a major concern as mentioned. Moreover, everybody wonders why an underpass? Nevertheless, authorities have done nothing to ease the upcoming congestion. I really feel pity for the shops in Central Festival and Home Works.

Posted by Phuket43

" I really feel pity for the shops in Central Festival and Home Works." Yup, some of them are going to go broke for sure. The rental rates at those locations are already sky high and require very high traffic and revenue volumes for a business to survive. So there's no doubt at all that even a small drop in revenue will mean insolvency, if not bankruptcy, for those currently on thin margins.

Posted by Arthur Anderson December 2, 2012 10:27:32AM

Reply

0    0

3

The article talks about two years. But, gentlemen, we're talking three years. Furthermore, the problem arising at the Wirat Hong Yok Junction is a major concern as mentioned. Moreover, everybody wonders why an underpass? Nevertheless, authorities have done nothing to ease the upcoming congestion. I really feel pity for the shops in Central Festival and Home Works.

Posted by Phuket43 December 2, 2012 10:06:20AM

Reply

0    0

2

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay

Would you have anything you might like to say about the underpass construction story and the traffic in that area, Bjay?

Posted by Referee December 2, 2012 10:00:43AM

Reply

0    0

1

A friend of mine arrived yesterday into Phuket International Airport, his fourth visit in about 10 months, so he is aware of how long it takes and the new Agreed Taxi Rates. He was approached by Taxi drivers who where asking for 1,500 baht to take him to Patong! On the pretext that this is the high season? Even a Metered Taxi wanted 900 baht for what the driver said was a 2-hour journey? Yes, why not rip off farrang from Day 1?

Posted by Bjay December 2, 2012 09:45:16AM

Reply

0    0

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