The dream of being able to simply drive to Koh Samui, from Thailand’s mainland by the end of the decade, has made more progress after EXAT, the Expressway Authority of Thailand, is preparing to contract the formal feasibility study for the project.
The 15 kilometre bridge (closest point on Koh Samui to the mainland) would be a major boon to the island that is only serviced by a car ferry and one airline with expensive fares. Koh Samui tourism stakeholders are always complaining that the island is hampered by a monopoly by Bangkok Airways who own and manage the only airport on the island – a cash cow for the airline but the high fares have been a major impediment for growth of tourism.
The road transport, on a new bridge, would be open 24 hours a day and drastically improve transport logistics to and from the popular Gulf island, the second largest island in Thailand.
The car ferry trip can take up to two hours and is at the mercy of the weather and sea conditions, a problem during the annual monsoon.
The EXAT governor spoke to island stockholders over the weekend, laying out a schedule of feasibility studies, approval, start of construction and opening of the bridge by the end of the decade.