Rama II roadworks 'done by 2020'
Minister steps in after protests over delays
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has assured residents in Samut Sakhon that upgrade works on Rama II Road will be completed by the end of next year.
Mr Saksayam made his pledge on Sunday after he met residents, the president of the Federation of Land Transport of Thailand Apichart Pairungrueng, Samut Sakhon governor Somkid Chanthamaruk, Highways Department chief Anon Luangboriboon, Samut Sakhon police chief Pol Maj Gen Samart Srisiriwibulchai and contractors to discuss how they can help speed up the road works.
The urgent meeting was convened after a group calling itself "Rama II Road Loving Residents" picketed Wat Panthai Norasinga in Muang district last Wednesday to voice their frustration over the slow progress of the project.
The residents said they wanted the new government to speed up the work, which has been going on for two years.
The group put up placards which said the "never-ending" construction has caused dust pollution and traffic gridlock.
They also said that motorists and local residents who regularly use the road can not stand delay any more.
"I ensure you that the improvements on Rama II Road will certainly be finished by 2020. It will not be delayed any further," Mr Saksayam told Mr Apichart and the group, after they submitted a petition calling on him to deal with the matter as quickly as possible.
To deal with the problem, they proposed a panel made up of residents and the state.
The panel will monitor the roadworks until they are completed.
Mr Saksayam said he had been briefed about the road improvement project, and according to an agreement that was signed last year, the roadworks must be finished by the end of next year.
He admitted there were delays that were caused by the lack of heavy machinery that is needed to carry out the roadworks, so he ordered various agencies to bring in more equipment to expedite the project.
"We are doing their best to ease traffic congestion in the area," he said. He did not say how much relief that move was likely to bring to the upset residents or how long it would take to get it in place.
The project involves improving an 11-kilometre stretch of road between Bang Khunthian and Ekkachai ramp.
The main section of the road is being widened from three to four lanes.
The adjacent frontage lanes are also being upgraded.