The Transport Ministry plans to call bids early next year for the construction of a 62km motorway to the Malaysian border in Songkhla province, for completion in 2022.
The motorway, estimated cost about 57 billion baht, will stretch from an intersection with the Phetkasem Highway in Bang Klam district to the border checkpoint in Sadao. It will connect to Hat Yai airport and southern industrial parks.
The ministry held a meeting on Wednesday to gather opinions from the private sector on the multi-billion-baht project. The contractor will get a 30-year concession for the motorway's operation.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said it would improve traffic flow to the lower South. Vehicles currently had only the Phetkasem Highway.
The new route would support border trade with Malaysia. Trade through Sadao district of Songkhla amounted to nearly 500 billion baht annually, the minister said.
Mr Arkhom planned to propose the project to the cabinet late this year. If approved, construction could begin next year, with completion around 2022.
Traffic was predicted at 20,000 vehicles a day initially.