Pattaya-Map Ta Phut route trial begins

Pattaya-Map Ta Phut route trial begins

32km motorway extension will be toll-free for three months

Driving on the motorway extension from Pattaya to Map Ta Phut will be free until its official opening in September. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
Driving on the motorway extension from Pattaya to Map Ta Phut will be free until its official opening in September. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

A newly built section of the motorway from Pattaya to Map Ta Phut has been opened for a toll-free, three-month trial to facilitate travel between Bangkok and provinces in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob hailed the route’s importance as a “connection of land, rail and air transport” as he presided over a soft-opening ceremony on Friday.

The 32-kilometre extension of the Bangkok-Pattaya motorway, also known as Motorway No.7, runs from Chon Buri to Ban Chang district in Rayong where U-tapao International Airport and the Ban Chang railway station are located.

Motorists can enter the route via three toll gates: Huai Yai, which is linked with Sukhumvit Road in Pattaya; Chi On in Sattahip district of Chon Buri; and U-tapao, which is connected with another section of Sukhumvit Road in Ban Chang district.

But drivers can only use only the U-tapao entrance during the test run, Highways Department chief Sarawut Songsivilai said.

The commercial opening of the route is scheduled for September. When the road is fully operational, tolls will range from 25 to 305 baht depending on vehicle type.

Construction of the extension began in 2016 and cost 17.7 billion baht, including 6 billion for land expropriation.

“All the money has come from our toll collections from motorways No.7 and No.9,” Mr Sarawut said.

Motorway No.9 is a north-south route connecting Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya with Bang Phli in Samut Prakan. The Pattaya-Map Ta Phut extension is part of the state infrastructure development plan for the EEC high-tech industrial hub covering Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao.

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