Phuket tram service to start in 2021
Light rail will ease congestion
The governor of Phuket has confirmed that the resort island will get a light rail tram service in 2021.
Speaking during a brief update on the 60-kilometre light rail tram project on Saturday, Chokchai Detamornthan said he was certain construction will be completed within the next three years.
Construction will start next year and finish in 2020. The tram service will be officially launched in 2021.
Mr Chokchai said the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) was in the process of seeking potential bidders for the project, which will be run under a public-private partnership scheme.
According to Mr Chokchai, the tram service will have 23 stations along its route, stretching from Tha Noon in Phangnga to Chalong intersection in Muang district.
The tram line, which will be built along the streets, will also pass Phuket International Airport and Thep Kasattri Road.
The line will help support Phuket's economy as it will make travel more convenient for commuters and tourists while easing traffic congestion, Mr Chokchai said.
The governor also urged the public to attend and share opinions at two meetings on the tram project that will be held by the OTP on Feb 6-7.
The Feb 6 meeting will be held at Thalang District Office and the other at Tambon Wichit Municipality in Muang district.
The OTP will present the project's feasibility study including adjustments to the tram route as well as U-turns and tunnels along the tram line in order to gauge public opinion and gather feedback which will be useful for the project's development.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith explained the delay in the construction of the tram service, saying it resulted from revisions to the project model suggested by the OTP.
Some details of the project needed to be altered in accordance with local structures such as the station at Phuket International Airport.
The station will be built outside the airport's terminal building instead of inside as in the previous model due to the structure of the terminal being unsuitable.
Moreover, the construction will not require road expansion as the Highways Department has approved building the line on streets under its supervision.
The OTP will hold meetings in February to encourage local administrative agencies and residents to take part in the project and help spur economic development.
Aside from the tram project, Mr Arkhom also mentioned construction of five tunnels in Phuket as part of measures to address congestion.
The tunnels at Dara Samut and Sam Kong intersections have been completed and officially opened while construction of the one at Bang Khu intersection is 70% complete. The tunnel at Chalong intersection is expected to be finished this September and the one at the airport in 2019.