Kasetsart backs light rail move
Expressway plan seen as danger to students
- Published: 12/02/2013 at 12:44 AM
- Online news:
Kasetsart University has backed the Transport Ministry's move to build a light rail system in place of an expressway in its part of town.
The red outline is the Kasetsart University campus, while yellow and blue dotted lines indicate two plans for the expressway. Instead, a light rail line now looks more likely. (Post Graphics)
The light rail system was likely to pose an an eyesore, but it was "more acceptable" than the expressway, rector Wuttichai Kapilakarn said.
The project would require part of the university compound to be demolished.
He said the expressway would have been potentially dangerous for students and officials as it would be located close to the buildings on campus.
Mr Wuttichai said he wants the Transport Ministry to inform the university in writing of its decision to switch from the expressway to a light rail system.
The university sent a protest letter against the expressway project to the Transport Ministry on Jan 17.
"We have never been invited by the ministry to discuss the issue," he said. "We want written confirmation."
The expressway project, planned by the Expressway Authority of Thailand (EAT), would take a new route extending from the Srirat Expressway.
The route would run along Rattanathibet Road and pass Khae Rai intersection, Ngam Wong Wan Road and Kasetsart University.
However, Kasetsart University has opposed the project as it believes it would have a negative impact on its campus. The university has suggested the state invest in mass transit systems rather than roads.
Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt on Sunday decided to consider building a light rail instead of the expressway, saying it would benefit more people and avoid conflict over land expropriation.
He said Monday the light rail project will complement the government's plan to promote electric rail as a major means of transport for Bangkok residents.
The light rail system would have a larger capacity than buses but be smaller than the metropolitan heavy rail system.
The Transport Ministry expects to link the light rail to the government's plans to build 10 lines of electric railways, Mr Chadchat said.
The light rail project would not necessarily be built along the route of the planned expressway, Mr Chadchat said.
The route could be changed to connect to the Pink and Purple lines at the Khae Rai intersection, the Red Line on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road and the Green Line on Phahon Yothin Road near the Kasetsart intersection.
The cost of constructing the underground section of the light rail under Ngam Wong Wan Road is estimated at 2.5 billion baht a kilometre, while its elevated section would cost between 800 million and 1 billion baht/km, Mr Chadchat said. The minister plans to have all future expressway projects built outside the city.
Mr Chadchat told the EAT to review its expressway plans and consider moving them to the suburbs and neighbouring provinces.
The EAT may begin scoping out areas near major canals in the north of Bangkok such as Klong Rangsit, he said.
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Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook