Road closures irk workers, students as traffic clogs up

The government's closure of roads leading to parliament and Government House during the anti-amnesty bill protest has become a major inconvenience for workers and students in those areas.

Pol Maj Gen Piya Uthayo, spokesman for the government's peace-keeping centre, said traffic police closed five routes leading to parliament and Government House on Monday.

They are the first among 12 roads to be closed under the provisions of the Internal Security Act.

The five roads are: Uthong Nai Road (from the Royal Plaza to Uthong Nai intersection), Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue (from Misakawan to Makkhawan intersections), Phitsanulok Road (from Phanit to Wang Daeng intersections), Phichai Road (from Khattiyani to Ratchawithi intersections and Ratchawithi Road (from Kanruean to Ratchawithi intersections).

Traffic congestion worsened in several areas of the capital yesterday and again Tuesday morning.

Pol Maj Gen Piya said the road closures would continue until the situation improved or the protest ended.

Phrae Padungsuk, a student of Mattayom Wat Makutkasat School in Phra Nakhon, said she arrived at school late because of the road closures.

She said taxi drivers refused to drive toward her school and buses had to make long detours.

It normally takes two hours for Raweewan Cherdsukjai to reach City Hall, her workplace, in Phra Nakhon from her house on Charan Sanitwong Soi 35, but yesterday her trip took nearly three hours.

"Just after I got my bus, it stood still for slightly over an hour. So I got off, caught a taxi, ran to a ferry at the Wang Lang pier to reach the Tha Chang pier and took another taxi to the office.

"It took nearly three hours," Ms Raweewan said.

Waraporn Kamlunglerd, who lives in Thon Buri, said she also arrived at work late and saw no way out of her conundrum. She said she was so upset and bored and would have to give up some sleeping hours if she was to get to work on time.

"The government should designate alternative routes for commuters instead of closing the roads arbitrarily," she complained.

An Education Ministry civil servant who asked not to be named said she spent up to three hours travelling from Pathum Thani to work by car, double what it usually takes her.

"Roads around here should not be closed as they are the main routes to work after driving down the highway. And I see no protesters," she said.

Related search: parliament, ISA, Internal Security Act, amnesty bills. road closures

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