The Ministry of Transport is moving forward with its plan to extend Motorway 7 (Bangkok-Chon Buri-Map Ta Phut) to connect with U-Tapao International Airport, to accommodate an expected surge in passenger numbers in the future.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Friday spoke to the media after a remote meeting on government policy for developing the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which includes a high-speed railway to link three major airports and Laem Chabang Port, as well as a motorway extension project to link with U-Tapao airport.
Mr Saksayam said the 3.5-kilometre Motorway 7 extension will be built to handle a sharp rise in airport passengers to 60 million a year in future years.
"The project will fulfil the purpose of the EEC, together with linking to neighbouring countries in the future. All related agencies have been instructed to expedite the process, he said.
Sarawut Songsivilai, director-general of the Department of Highways (DoH), said the DoH is working on a feasibility study which, together with an Environmental Impact Assessment, is expected to be completed this year.
As the project was removed from the next fiscal year's budget allocation, the DoH will take the initial step of requesting a loan of 4.2 billion baht to fund the project to cover construction costs of 3.9 billion baht and 260 million baht in land expropriation expenses.
The bidding process for a contractor and land acquisition are scheduled to begin in the middle of next year with the extension slated to open in 2025.
However, if the loan is not approved, the DoH will list the project in its budget allocation for fiscal year 2023 instead, with the announcement of an initial bid price put back to October, the first month of fiscal year 2023.