Ministry launches new bridge project
The Transport Ministry has kicked off the Songkhla Lake Bridge Construction project, which aims to reduce travel time between Songkhla and Phatthalung provinces.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Friday presided over the launching ceremony for the project, which is under the Department of Rural Roads.
Mr Saksayam, along with Sports and Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and senior staff from the Ministry of Transport, were welcomed by deputy provincial governor Chatchai Usaha.
During his speech, Mr Saksayam said the bridge will shorten the travel distance between Songkhla and Phatthalung by 80 kilometres, or two hours' worth of driving.
He said the bridge will facilitate trade, boost the tourism economy and improve the travel safety of locals.
He said the construction plan was researched by the department and its Environment Impact Assessment was approved. The project is now waiting for the cabinet to grant 4.8 billion baht for the construction, he said.
That is expected to commence next year with the project due to be completed in 2026.
The bridge will be 7 kilometres long and located on the northeast side of Songkhla lake, Mr Saksayam said.
There are currently two other bridges about 60km apart, causing travel difficulties for locals.
The first is Chalae Bridge, 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.
The new crossing is designed as a so-called extradosed bridge with a two-lane road that can be extended into four in the future, he said.
An extradosed bridge employs a structure that combines the main elements of both a prestressed box girder bridge and a cable-stayed bridge.
The railings will be decorated with Noral murals stemming from southern folk art, making it another significant landmark in the province, the transport minister said.