Flood control: Giant Bangkok tunnel ahead of schedule

Flood control: Giant Bangkok tunnel ahead of schedule

Reporters and photographers go 30 metres underground to see the progress in the construction of a new giant tunnel under the Bang Sue canal linking Lat Phrao canal and the Chao Phraya River. (Photos by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Reporters and photographers go 30 metres underground to see the progress in the construction of a new giant tunnel under the Bang Sue canal linking Lat Phrao canal and the Chao Phraya River. (Photos by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

About a year from now, a large part of Bangkok won't need to rely on its outdated drainage system as a massive underground tunnel comes on line.

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Giant tunnel to ease flooding

Supoj Wancharoen

Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra 30 metres below ground yesterday.

A giant new underground tunnel which promises much faster flood water drainage in Bangkok, expected to be complete early next year, will help six flood-prone areas of the capital, Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra says.

The construction of the 6.4-km tunnel, linking Lat Phrao canal and the Chao Phraya River, is now more than 46% complete. The work is currently ahead of schedule and, with this progress, residents and motorists on crowded streets will breathe a sigh of relief when the tunnel helps to solve flooding problems, he said.

The tunnel, which can carry water to the river at a rate of 60 cu/m a second, will improve the drainage speed which is currently slow due to the city’s smaller sewers which cannot effectively deal with rainwater of more than 60 millimetres per hour.

Once the 2.4-billion-baht tunnel, which will be laid under the Bang Sue canal, is completed, six flood-prone areas covering 56 sq/km will benefit, MR Sukhumbhand said.

They are a section of Phahon Yothin Road from the Saphan Kwai to Lat Phrao intersections, a section of Vibhavadi Rangsit Road from the Sutthisan to Lat Phrao intersections, a section of Ratchadaphisek Road from the Ratchayothin intersection to Bang Sue canal, a section of Lat Phrao Road from Ratchada-Lat Phrao intersection to Bang Sue canal, a section of Kamphaeng Phet Road from an area under Si Rat Expressway to Chatuchak weekend market, and part of Sam Sen Road from Bang Krabue canal to the Kiak Kai intersection.

A pumping station is being built at the end of the 5-metre diameter tunnel that meets the Chao Phraya River in the Kiakkai area, MR Sukhumbhand said.

The governor on Friday conducted an inspection of part of the tunnel under Kamphaeng Phet Road. A lift took him 30 metres down to the tunnel through which he took a tram along its 700-metre section.

Construction workers are working around the clock, gradually extending the tunnel by 15 metres each day, MR Sukhumbhand said.

A look inside the tunnel.

As the tunnel's completion is about a year away, City Hall must rely on conventional methods to tackle floods this year.

“We are preparing to dredge sewers to make them more efficient in draining water and installing water pumps,” MR Sukhumbhand said. In the long term Bangkok still needs a larger sewer system to replace its ageing one, he said.

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  • ageing: growing old - สูงวัยขึ้น
  • ahead of schedule: being done at a faster rate than originally expected - ก่อนกำหนด
  • around the clock: throughout the whole day and night; 24 hours - ทั้งวันทั้งคืน
  • breathe a sigh of relief (idiom): to feel calm again after something unpleasant or frightening has ended - โล่งอก
  • capital: the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from - เมืองหลวง
  • conduct: to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
  • construction: the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง
  • conventional: usual or normal - ธรรมดา
  • crowded: packed; full of people or things - แน่น
  • currently: at this time; now - ในปัจจุบัน
  • deal with: to take action to solve a problem - จัดการปัญหา
  • diameter: the length of a straight line that crosses a circle through the centre - เส้นผ่านศูนย์กลาง
  • drainage: the process of taking away of water or other liquids from an area - การระบายน้ำ
  • dredge: to remove unwanted things from the bottom of a river, canal, lake, etc. using a sucking or other device - ขุดลอก
  • due to: because of - เนื่องจาก
  • ease: to make a problem, situation or pain less severe or serious - บรรเทา
  • effectively: producing the result that was intended - ได้ผลดี
  • extend: to include something more - ยืดออกไป ขยายออกไป
  • giant: very large; much larger or more important than similar things usually are - ยักษ์
  • governor: a person who is chosen to be in charge of the government of a state or province or a government agency - ผู้ว่าการรัฐ, ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด
  • gradually: slowly and in small stages or amounts - อย่างทีละน้อย
  • inspection: the act of looking closely at something or someone and to check that everything is as it should be; examination - การตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด
  • intersection: a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other - สี่แยก
  • linking: connecting - เชื่อมต่อ เชื่อมโยง
  • method: a particular way of doing something - วิธีการ,วิธีดำเนินการ
  • motorist (noun): a person driving a car or other motor vehicle - คนขับรถยนต์, ผู้ขับรถ
  • progress: the process of developing or of getting nearer to achieving or completing something - ความคืบหน้า
  • promise: a sign that somebody/something will be successful - ลักษณะหรือท่าทีที่ดี
  • prone (verb): to likely to experience a particular problem more often than is usual - ที่มีแนวโน้ม
  • pumping station (noun): a building with pumps in it, used to pump water and move it from one place to another place - สถานีสูบน้ำ
  • rate: the level or speed at which something happens or changes, or the amount or number of times it happens or changes in a particular period - อัตรา
  • rely on: to depend on or trust - พึ่งพา  เชื่อถือ ไว้ใจ
  • replace: to change from one thing to another - แทน
  • residents: people who live in a particular area - ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
  • section: any of the parts into which something is divided - ส่วน
  • sewers (noun): underground pipes or passages that carry sewage (liquid waste) - ท่อน้ำเสีย, ท่อระบายน้ำ
  • solve (verb): to successfully deal with a problem or difficult situation; to find out who is responsible for a crime - แก้ปัญหา, คลี่คลาย, หาคำตอบ
  • tackle: to make an organised and determined attempt to deal with a problem - จัดการกับปัญหา
  • tram: a long narrow vehicle that travels along metal tracks in the middle of a street and is used as public transport in some places - รถราง
  • tunnel: an underground passage - อุโมงค์
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