Construction obstacles prompt rail routes delay

Construction obstacles prompt rail routes delay

Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc conducts a test of the Pink Line monorail at Min Buri station in Bangkok on Dec 9, 2021. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc conducts a test of the Pink Line monorail at Min Buri station in Bangkok on Dec 9, 2021. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The opening of Bangkok's two new electric rail routes, the Yellow and Pink lines planned for the middle of this year, is likely to be postponed to no later than next year due to construction material delays, according to Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC).

Surapong Laoha-Unya, CEO of BTSC, said on Thursday the company will submit to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) a request to extend the deadline for opening the two lines by another 677 days.

The extension will allow more time for contractors to cope with delays in importing construction materials from abroad, which the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated during the past two years, he said.

In a worst-case scenario, service on the new routes will commence no later than 2023, he said.

However, BTSC will try to speed up construction of the lines and get them ready for opening by the end of this year, he said.

As of last month, construction work on the Pink Line was 84.64% complete while the Yellow Line was 90% finished, he said.

The two lines were initially planned to open last year before pandemic-related delays caused them to be postponed to around the middle of this year.

The Yellow Line is a monorail system running for 30.4 kilometres and linking Lat Phrao in Bangkok with Samrong in Samut Prakan. The Pink Line is a 34.5km-long monorail connecting Khae Rai in Nonthaburi and Min Buri in Bangkok.

In related news, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said he wasn't sure when the cabinet would resume its deliberation of a controversial proposal to extend the concession for the Green Line.

He was responding to unconfirmed reports saying the cabinet will next week continue its consideration of the proposal.

The proposal, made by the Interior Ministry and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), yet strongly opposed by the Transport Ministry and Bhumjaithai Party, had led to the coalition partner announcing last week it would boycott a cabinet meeting to decide on the proposal.

The cabinet has since agreed to a resolution that both sides in the dispute over the Green Line proposal will discuss the issue and find common ground before the cabinet resumes deliberation of the proposal, he said.

However, no such discussions have yet begun as required by the resolution, he said, so cabinet consideration of the proposal can't resume anytime soon as the previous resolution must be strictly followed.

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