The construction of a third bridge across Songkhla Lake, linking Krasae Sin district in Songkhla province with Khao Chaison district in Phatthalung, is expected to begin in 2023 and be open for use in 2026, Department of Rural Roads director-general Apirath Chaiwongnoy said.
Mr Apirath said the survey and design of the bridge had been completed.
The project's environmental impact assessment report had been endorsed by a committee of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, pending final approval from the cabinet.
A proposal would be put forward for 4.841 billion baht for the work from the 2023 budget.
Construction was expected to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2025. The bridge was expected to be officially opened for use in 2026, he said.
There are now two bridges across Songkhla Lake. The first is Chalae Bridge in the lower part of the lake, linking Singha Nakhon district of Songkhla and Pak Phayun district of Phatthalung.
The second is Chalerm Phra Kiat 80 Phansa Bridge in the upper part of the lake, linking Ranot district of Songkhla and Khuan Khanun district of Phatthalung.
The two bridges are 60 kilometres apart. Because of this, it takes about two hours for people in the middle area of the lake to travel from one side to the other.
Local administrations, community leaders and residents of Krasae Sin and Khao Chaison districts had requested another bridge across the centre of the lake.
The new bridge would run between rural road 4004 at Ban Laem Chong Thanon in Khao Chaison district, Phatthalung province, across Songkhla Lake in a northeasterly direction, and Ban Laem Yang in tambon Ko Yai of Krasae Sin district of Songkhla, Mr Apirath said.
The bridge would be seven kilometres long with two traffic lanes, expandable to four lanes. It would be an extradosed structure, combining elements of a prestressed box girder bridge and a cable-stayed bridge.
The architectural design would reflect local art forms, making the bridge another landmark of the province, Mr Apirath said.