Chiang Mai rallies behind light rail
Chiang Mai residents rallied behind the province's first light-rail project at the first public hearing on the project on Wednesday, according to Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas.
Most participants at the hearing threw their support behind the 12-km Red Line route, which will run from Nakhon Ping Hospital to Mae Hia intersection with some stretches of track running underground.
They said the line would tackle traffic congestion in the downtown area and improve mobility.
The province's first mass transit line, set to launch in 2027, would also boost tourism, according to the hearing.
The residents also urged authorities to build two other lines: a 12-km Blue Line from Chiang Mai Zoo to Sri Bua Ngern Pattana intersection and an 11-km Green Line from Ruam Choke intersection to Chiang Mai airport.
The forum agreed that if the two lines were constructed one after another, it would be 15 years before a complete mass transit network was up and running.
Mr Pakapong said the MRTA has gathered input from the hearing and will discuss the possibility of whether it is feasible to build the Blue and Green lines at the same time.
However, he said simultaneous construction of two major mass transit projects might trigger a widespread traffic snarl in the city centre.
Mr Pakapong added the MRTA will also mull project details, including what land to expropriate and where to build the train depot, as well as the location for the Red Line's park and ride structure.
The MRTA has been instructed by the Land Traffic Management Commission to carry out the mass transit system in Chiang Mai via the PPP public-private partnership (PPP) investment programme.