Motorway 9 tolls to start on Sunday
Toll fees ranging from 15 baht to 35 baht for use of the Phra Pradaeng-Bang Khunthian southern section of the Outer Ring Road motorway, which up until now has been free for motorists, will become effective July 1, transport authorities said Monday.
The announcement was made after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Department of Highways (DOH) and the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat) for the latter to collect the tolls on the former's behalf.
The complete Outer Ring Road is also known as Kanchanaphisek Road or Motorway 9.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, who presided over the MoU signing, said talks for the enforcement of the toll began in December 2011. A cabinet agreement announced then that Exat will oversee toll-keeping, maintenance and traffic management of the 14.5km stretch from the Phra Pradaeng tollbooth in Samut Prakan to the Bang Khunthian tollbooth.
Starting from midnight on July 1, four-wheeled vehicles will have to pay 15 baht while six-wheeled trucks will be charged 25 baht and vehicles with seven wheels or more must pay 35 baht.
This is the first time tolls will be enforced on the stretch of highway, the minister said, adding they will be used to maintain the route.
At present, funds are drawn from other road-related budgets as the motorway does not generate its own revenue, he added.
DOH director-general Thanin Somboon said Monday the department expects the stretch to receive between 50 million and 60 million baht in revenue per month. As per the MoU, the DOH must give Exat 2.7 million baht per month in exchange for operating the route.
Mr Thanin said price hikes will be considered every three years, based on traffic.
Meanwhile, the DOH is set to start construction on the first stretch of a planned 74km highway from Bang Khunthian to the Wang Manao Intersection in Ratchaburi early next year.
According to Mr Thanin, the project is still awaiting an official value estimate, but it has thus far been split into three sections. The first 10km section, from Bang Khunthian to Mahachai in Samut Sakhon, has been valued at 10.5 billion baht.
Auctions for construction contracts will commence in October, Mr Thanin said, adding it will take three years to construct.