Mae Sot bypass cost now B4.2bn
The cabinet has approved an additional budget for the construction of the Mae Sot bypass, raising the road project cost to more than 4.2 billion baht.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the Highways Department, which is responsible for the project, is seeking 367.5 million baht more to fund extra construction costs and land appropriation fees.
The Mae Sot bypass is designed to link Mae Sot district to Myanmar's Myawaddy and includes the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge crossing the Moei River.
The bypass starts at Highway No.12, crossing the Moei-Thaungyin River at Ban Wang Takien in tambon Tha Sai Luad of Mae-Sot district to connect to a village in Myawaddy.
He said the project costs were originally estimated at 3.9 billion baht, but owing to complicated details in the landscape design the department has decided to hire a contractor to build part of the project.
Of the 367.5-million-baht extra budget, 167.57 million is for the construction costs and the remaining 200 million baht for land appropriation, he said.
Mr Arkhom said the extra costs cover the construction of a border checkpoint building which has a detailed design reflecting both Thai and Myanmar cultures.
Construction of the bypass is 80% complete while the bridge is finished, he said. Construction of the building is likely to be completed in 2019.
It is hoped the second bridge will ease traffic on the first Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge and boost the economy and tourism industries of the two countries.
He added the cabinet has also extended the tied-over budget for the building construction to 2019, from 2017 originally.
Mr Arkhom also said an agreement involving cross-border permits for trucking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) cannot be put to practice because four countries have yet to sign.
Under the agreement, GMS countries will have a quota of 500 lorries travelling in the region.
He said while Thailand and China have signed the agreement on permits for trucking, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar have not.
However, talks on the issue were under way and are likely to wrap up in August, he added.