Patong Hill Road is now open to small vehicles IN BOTH DIRECTIONS. The decision was made last night to reopen the stretch of road being repaired at this time to “small” vehicles which includes cars, pick-ups and passenger vans.
The decision was made after engineers assessed the current soil movement and situation of the structures under the remainder of the road. It also follows some substantial progress made to replace the foundations of the road that washed down the hill mid-October after some torrential rain.
Vehicles are being asked to strictly follow the instructions of officials who are supervising the traffic flow and stick to the lanes provided for traffic as the repairs on part of the road remain.
So where does this leave the new ‘alternative’ route that is set to open on the Thai fathers day (next Monday)? The 3 kilometre cement road, reported to have cost 12 million was a hasty reaction to the critical need to provide a Patong Hill access to Phuket’s main tourist town. The road is more than twice as long as the current road over Patong Hill.
With the old road now opening to “small vehicles”, in both directions, it is yet to be seen if drivers will use the new track. As it is, it involves drivers having to do a U-turn at the PTT petrol station at the bottom of the Kathu side of the hill, travel 200 metres back to the turn off before continuing their journey along the new route. When they reach the top of the hill they then have to cross the flow of traffic coming up the hill out of Patong – a potentially dangerous situation.
Of course it will always be important to have a back-up route if there are any other interruptions to traffic on Patong Hill in the future. The newly laid road will also provide some different views and perspectives from some of the island’s highest spots.