Cabinet sets second high-speed rail phase rolling
The cabinet yesterday approved the first sum of 112 million baht of the 751-million-baht budget required for financing the design of the second phase of the Thai-Chinese high-speed train project in the Northeast.
The second phase is a 355-km long section from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai, which will cost about 200 billion baht.
The project's first phase is a 125-billion-baht section stretching 253km from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.
Most of the 751 million baht for the design work will come from the budget for the next fiscal year which starts in October, according to Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith after yesterday's cabinet meeting.
The second phase construction is split into two sections; one from Nakhon Ratchasima to Khon Kaen and the other from Khon Kaen to Nong Khai, he said.
Terms of reference (ToR) for the bidding for construction contracts in the second phase have already been drafted and will be posted on the internet for an online public hearing on the draft, he said.
The bidding is expected to be completed and whatever contracts are available signed in six months, while the process of studying and designing the second-phase construction project is estimated to take a full year to finish, he said.
Whether or not the second phase construction project will be broken into multiple contracts, as was the case with the first phase, will depend on the design, he said.
The minister gave his assurance that the Finance Ministry has sufficient funds to invest in the second phase project.
The first phase construction project involved 14 contracts, eight of which have already awarded to contractors by means of bidding, while the bidding for the remaining six contracts, worth 60 billion baht, is expected to be carried out this month, he said.
The minister insisted the first-phase construction of the high-speed rail project is proceeding according to plan and will be completed in 2022, he said.
Some sections of the first-phase route such as the Bangkok-Ayutthaya section are expected to be operational in 2022, with the entire route up and running in 2023 as planned, Mr Arkhom said.