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Landslide Fears Prompt Phuket Governor To Push For Patong Hill Road Repairs

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Landslide fears prompt Phuket Governor to push for Patong Hill road repairs

Phuket Gazette

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A last-minute push to fix the Patong Hill road is underway as fears of another landslide on the traffic-heavy hill grow. Photo: Gazette file

PHUKET: -- Governor Tri Augkaradacha is pressing the central government for an emergency 80-million-baht budget to shore up Phra Barami Road on Patong Hill, which is deemed at high risk of collapse from landslide due to heavy monsoon-season rain.

A section of the road, just west of the Chinese shrine at the top of the hill, is already earmarked for repairs under a project plan already submitted to the Highways Department. This section first collapsed during heavy rains last October, then again in early May with the advent of this year’s monsoon.

The local Highways Department office expects to begin work on that project, using “soilnails” and sprayed concrete, some time this month.

However a longer section of the road on the Kathu side that slumped following a landslide in October last year remains at risk.

Governor Tri told the Gazette that he is aware of the potential for disaster if the vital route becomes impassable.

“When we hosted the mobile Cabinet meeting in Phuket, I proposed this project for Cabinet approval. It was was approved, but only under the budget for fiscal year 2013,” said Governor Tri.

As fiscal 2013 begins on October 1, 2012, improvements to the road could not begin until the end of the current monsoon season.

“With the unexpected earthquake off Sumatra in Indonesia in April, we began to realize that this project could not be put on hold that long. We saw people try to evacuate Patong [after the tsunami alert] and realized that this route is the main escape route from the Patong area. If there is another unfortunate event like a tsunami or earthquake, this road must be accessible during the ensuing turmoil,” he said.

To expedite the work, Governor Tri has decided to request spending the 80mn baht allocated under the 2013 budget during the current fiscal year.

“I assigned the project to the [interior Ministry's] Public Works and Town & Country Planning Department office in Phuket,” said Governor Tri.

“I explained the importance of this project to the Interior Ministry. They started to understand the importance in the aftermath of the earthquake in April,” he added.

“Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit suggested that I re-propose the budget for instant approval, which I did. They are now reviewing the proposal, but I haven't heard anything back from them yet,” he explained.

If approved, the project would involve compacting the soil beneath sections of the road to strengthen its base, as well as widening the road to increase traffic flow capacity, he said.

“I hope the budget is approved soon since it is already rainy season and this project is necessary for the Phuket economy,” he ended.

Source: http://www.phuketgaz...ticle16160.html

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-- Phuket Gazette 2012-06-11

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To quote Governor Tri the fine pillar of upstanding society he appears to himself to be, hasn't seemed to solve many Phuket problems so far.

" If approved, the project would involve compacting the soil beneath sections of the road to strengthen its base, as well as widening the road to increase traffic flow capacity, he said. "

The way the road was built in the first place defies all logic as to why some parts of it still exists to this day. This proposed band-aid repair is like trying to cure a horse with a broken leg. Impossible of course but profitable for those concerned in the effort. A major alternative route such as the one proposed from Chalong with another from a more northerly point with the present one patched up and reserved for motorcycles and 10, 18 wheelers and buses would make more sense. Why restrict the largest and smallest vehicles from using the new routes ? Because they represent the major source of complaint to the normal traffic flow around the Island.

Those that say different have never had Somchai on his illegal, made from reo bar samlor, dwadalling along in front at 30k, straddling both lanes until you just manage to overtake without having a head on and into clear road. Great.., only to be stopped at the next traffic lights even though no traffic crosses due to the timer sequence rather than traffic requirements and up behind comes Somchai, helmet on but chinstrap undone, mounts the footpath on the inside, pulls right, back on the road and stops straddling the lane marker ahead of you. Lights turn green, and off goes Somchai, pretty quick I might add but soon reaches his maximum velocity of 30k. Please repeat the same procedure as often as necessary or until you give up. No amount of horn blowing or flashing of lights will make him move over. He is completely oblivious to his surroundings and other traffic. Blinkered like a cart horse. Give him a nudge and your'e in deep do do. Sorry I digress.

Why buses as well. I believe it is the right of the packaged tourists looking like Down's Syndrome patients in their sunshine buses paying for everything in their own country for an overpriced holiday not being deprived of the excellent free roller coaster ride and sometimes an excellent unplanned free fall that an island bus trip offers over Patong hill. Replacements are simply a numbers game, queued up like lemmings waiting to get here.

No a tunnel is not the answer. Can you imagine the fustercluck with a head on at halfway in with the resultant fire and mayhem. Thankfully, despite my sig, I won't be alive to see it anyway. Why anyone wants to go to Patong beats me in the first place. Haven't been there for over 8 yrs and enjoyed every minute. Age and sanity may have a bearing on the matter.

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