The Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat) is inviting potential investors to submit their tenders for the construction of the 3.98-kilometre Kathu-Patong expressway in Phuket, which it estimated would cost 14.67 billion baht to build.
Exat governor, Surachat Laophulsuk, said bid envelopes will be sold starting next Monday and tenders will be accepted in early March.
He said land expropriation for the expressway project would cost around 5.79 billion baht, and that the expressway will be built under a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
The government will take care of land expropriation, while the winning bidder will be responsible for the design, construction, as well as operation and maintenance for a 35-year period.
Mr Surachat said the selection process will take about six months, and the result is expected late next year. If everything goes to plan, he said, construction should commence in 2024 and the road would open in 2027.
The planned expressway will run from Phra Mettha Road in tambon Patong and end at tambon Kathu in the same district, linking the eastern part of the island and Patong beach. It will also serve as an evacuation route in case of natural disasters.
The expressway will have two lanes for cars and larger vehicles and another two for motorcycles in each direction and will include a 1.85-km tunnel.
About 71,000 vehicles -- 36,000 cars and 35,000 motorcycles -- are expected to use the expressway daily once it opens. Toll fees are 15 baht for motorcycles, 40 baht for cars, 80 baht for six-wheel to ten-wheel cars and 125 baht for larger vehicles.
The government agreed in principle to build the road in 2015, but the project stalled when the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry did not approve construction in forested areas.
In January this year, the cabinet gave the go-ahead and allocated 5.79 billion baht for land expropriation.