The Department of Highways has estimated that it would cost at least 4.9 million baht to repair Highway 4029, the main road which links Phuket's Kathu district with the island's popular Patong beach.
The highway remains impassable as it was seriously damaged by a landslide which struck near Si Ko intersection in Kathu district on Wednesday last week, which serves as the main access for motorists heading to Patong beach from Patong hill.
While the road remains off-limits to vehicles, local commuters, as well as some tourists were seen traversing the damaged section of the road yesterday, in an attempt to continue their journey along the undamaged section of the road.
An informed source said after a preliminary survey which was carried out by a drone, the department estimated the repairs would cost at least 4.9 million baht.
According to DoH director-general Sarawut Songwilai, the work will likely be funded by the 17-million-baht budget the Kathu municipality had approved on Sunday to maintain the highway.
A team of engineers will have to make a further assessment before a contractor is selected to get the job done, said Mr Sarawut.
The Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat), meanwhile, has vowed to speed up its planned project to build a 3.98-kilometre-long tunnel, estimated to cost 14.67 billion baht, as an alternative route between Kathu district and Patong beach.
Exat has only recently completed the market-sounding process on the Kathu-Patong tunnel project and is now expected to forward the results to the committee tasked with finding a potential private partner to invest in the project, said another source.
In exchange for fully investing in the construction of the tunnel, the investor will be awarded a 35-year concession to operate it and collect the toll fees, said the source, adding the bidding for the project is expected around the middle of next year.