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Thai PM returns to Phuket to push forward new projects

Srettha Thavisin, Thai PM
PHOTO: Srettha Thavisin, Thai PM at Phuket Airport

The new Thai PM Srettha Thavisin is returning to Phuket this week to follow up his first visit just days ofter becoming the new PM. Projects he will be following up include the new international airport at Phang Nga, two stretches of a proposed expressway and review of transportation on the island.

Airports of Thailand has moved forward with its 70 billion baht plan to build a new airport in Phang Nga, located north of Phuket, to accommodate the increasing number of tourists coming to the Andaman region.

AoT President Keerati Kitmanawat spoke after the PM’s recent visit to Phuket and Chiang Mai to discuss the construction of a new airports. The new north Thailand airport would be constructed in the Lamphun province, just south of Chiang Mai province.

The new international airport in Phang Nga is intended to alleviate the air traffic congestion at Phuket International Airport and will be situated in Khok Kloi, approximately 15 minutes drive north of Phuket. The land is located between Kok Kloi village and the Phang Nga township.

These developments are part of the larger AoT Andaman-Lamphun project, with AoT allocating a total of 140 billion baht (US$3,873,000,000) for these initiatives. Each airport is estimated to cost 70 billion baht. The main goal is to boost tourism in both Chiang Mai and the Phuket region by establishing two new airports which would take about 6-7 years to complete.

Keerati confirmed that AoT will begin another feasibility study, which will include Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements, before the end of the year. This research is expected to take eight months to complete. Once finished, the project will move on to the design phase, which will include investment details like area boundaries, construction methods, budget considerations, and an EIA report.

The two main stretches of new roadway proposed for Phuket are the Kathu to Patong expressway, which would likely include the much-discussed Patong Tunnel. The tunnel has been beset with delays, many of them surround expropriation of land on the Kathu side of the Patong Hill.

The other roadway project is the Sakoo – Kathu expressway which would run approximately parallel, and on the west side, of the current north-south Thepkasattri Road. The expressway is a major solution to the huge volume of traffic currently being carried on Thepkasattri Road, and would shorten the lengthening trips from the airport to the island’s most popular seaside destinations.

The new Prime Minister pledged to boost tourism in Phuket and expand the international airport’s capacity to prepare for a likely surge in arrivals during the high season in November. He made the promises on his first visit to Phuket, just three days after being elected as Thailand’s 30th Prime Minister.

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