B15bn light rail tipped for Korat city

B15bn light rail tipped for Korat city

A 15-billion-baht light rail network is likely to be developed to accommodate commuters in Nakhon Ratchasima's Muang district. Construction is due to start in 2020, with operations potentially commencing by 2023.

The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) has hired Suranaree University of Technology to conduct a feasibility study to develop the mass-transit system.

The project consultant has proposed developing a light rail system with three routes spanning 54.4 kilometres. The OTP committee supervising the study recently approved a preliminary version of the report.

The light rail network is reportedly preferable because of greater cost effectiveness when compared with a bus rapid transit system.

The three initial routes would be: a 15-km Orange Line operating as a loop in the inner area; a 23-km Green Line linking Khok Kruat to Cho Ho; and a 16.4km Purple Line linking Save One market to Cho Ho.

The light rail development project is divided into three phases.

The first phase involves design and construction of the Orange Line and the Green Line, with design beginning in 2019 and operations starting in 2023 at the earliest.

The second phase entails design and construction of the Purple Line for which construction is expected to start in 2023 and operations to begin in 2026.

The final phase covers design and construction of extended routes which are expected to be operational in 2029 at the earliest.

The OTP's committee has asked the project consultant to work on design of the stations, commercial development around them and investment models.

The government has been advised to invest in construction and development of infrastructure while operations and maintenance should be carried out in a public-private partnership format.

The project costs are estimated at 15 billion baht.

The OTP has been organising a series of public hearings on the mass-transit project and the last public consultation is expected to take place next month.

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