Countdown to New Year's gridlock begins

Countdown to New Year's gridlock begins

Traffic is building up in Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya on Thursday as travellers are heading for the North and the Northeast ahead of New Year. (Photo by Sunthorn Pongpao)
Traffic is building up in Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya on Thursday as travellers are heading for the North and the Northeast ahead of New Year. (Photo by Sunthorn Pongpao)

Traffic jams mushroomed on Thursday as people began travelling for their New Year holidays, with kilometres-long snarl-ups clogging bottlenecks and intersections on the major highways to the North and Northeast.

Isan-bound traffic was slow in Nakhon Ratchasima province, known as the gateway to the Northeast. On a bypass of the provincial centre in Muang district, vehicles were crawling for about 20 kilometres from Pak Thong Chai interchange in tambon Pru Yai to tambon Jor Hor.

Heavy congestion also hit Mitraphap Highway (Highway 2) in Sikhiu and Phimai districts, and Highway 304 in Pak Thong Chai district, where reverse-flow traffic lanes were in effect.

In Sung Noen district, a chartered bus from Bangkok overturned in the rain on Highway 24. A Cambodian worker was killed and about 40 others injured on their way to Surin province.

The main provincial bus terminal in Nakhon Ratchasima was also congested as people bought tickets for other northeastern provinces.

In Prachin Buri province, traffic was building up on Highway 304 before a bottleneck near the entrance of the Khao Yai National Park, with vehicles queuing for about five kilometres. Many of the vehicles carried factory workers in the eastern provinces of Chon Buri and Rayong who were heading home to see their families.

In Khon Kaen province, Mitraphap Highway was at a standstill in the section leading to the provincial centre.

North-bound traffic was slow in Ayutthaya and Nakhon Sawan provinces. In Ayutthaya, heavy traffic clogged Highway 1 (Phahon Yothin Highway) where Bangkok's eastern and western ring roads adjoin.

In Nakhon Sawan, traffic was building up on Phahon Yothin Highway and Highway 122, a bypass of central Nakhon Sawan that is under maintenance.

Thursday marked the start of the seven-day New Year period with the government's intensified road safety measures in effect.


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