Government pushes expressway to go ahead

Government pushes expressway to go ahead

This photo taken in 2014 shows the pilings for a Nawamin-Kasetsart expressway that was abandoned in midstream. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)
This photo taken in 2014 shows the pilings for a Nawamin-Kasetsart expressway that was abandoned in midstream. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)

The government has instructed authorities to resume construction of a section of the long delayed northern expressway linking the Kasetsart intersection and Nawamin Road, also known as the N2 section.

The planned expressway, which will link west Bangkok at Bang Pa-In-Bang Phli motorway to east Bangkok at the Eastern Ring Road, was earlier halted due to strong opposition from Kasetsart University over its compound being used as an entry point to the expressway.

The latest move is based on advice from the National Council for Peace and Order which cites a need to relieve traffic congestion in northern Bangkok, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said Monday, as he was preparing to meet the Commission for the Management of Land Traffic (CMLT).

The military is concerned about congestion on Kaset-Nawamin Road, which the expressway would aim to alleviate. But also, the minister said, seeing as money has been spent building some of the expressway pillars, it would be worthwhile for the Expressway Authority of Thailand to go ahead with the project.

Up to 15 billion baht could be needed to resume building the expressway section, the minister said. The 9.2km expressway section, or N2, is part of what authorities call the "third-phase expressway" which consists of three new sections of expressway.

Another two are N1 (19.2km route from the Bang Yai intersection in western Bangkok to the Kasetsart intersection) and N3 which links Nawamin, Seri Thai and Ramkhamhaeng roads over a distance of 11.5 km.

N1 has so far drawn the most public attention because its construction would incorporate parts of the compound of Kasetsart University.

The university has opposed the project, arguing the building of the expressway would be a noisy distraction while classes are going on and inconvenience students and staff.

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