The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) will submit plans to develop existing and new canal routes to promote passenger boat transportation in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the capital.
OTP director Punya Chupanit on Tuesday revealed the OTP had carried out a feasibility study on maritime travel development in Bangkok and its adjacent provinces from this year to 2032 to expand waterway routes from a total of 131.2km to 196.6km.
The plan will be submitted to the Transport Ministry for consideration and is expected to require a budget of around 9.32 billion baht, Mr Punya said.
From that figure, 1.32 billion baht would be needed to develop piers and facilities for the 65.4-km existing waterway routes along the Chao Phraya River and Phadung Krung Kasem and Prawet Buri Rom canals.
The rest would fund the four new canal routes from this year to 2027.
The first project is the Sai Mai-Phra Khanong route on the Lat Phrao Canal. The route will be 25.7km long and will have 23 piers. The project will need a budget of 1.44 billion baht.
About 3.24 billion baht would be needed to develop the Saen Saep Canal route. The project will have three parts.
The first part is 12km long from Wat Si Bunrueang to Suwinthawong Road. The project will have 16 piers and is expected to be completed in three years' time. The second section is 17.3km long, from Phan Pha Lilat Bridge to Wat Si Bunrueang, and it will have 28 piers. The third part will be 1.5km long from Phan Pha Lilat Bridge to Phra Sumen Fort and will have three piers. The OTP expects the extension of passenger boat services along the Saen Saep Canal to be completed in 2027.
The third route will be an expansion of the Mahasawat-Bangkok Noi canals. The route will be 17.1km long with 18 piers. It will link Pratu Nam Chimphli to Sirirat Hospital. The project budget is expected to be 397.53 million baht and will be completed within two years.
The last route is 28km long on Mahasawat Canal, which will have 13 piers connecting Pratu Nam Mahasawat to Wat Chaiyaphrueksamal. The project's budget is expected to be 219.93 million baht, and it will be completed in 2025.
The OTP also has a long-term plan (2028-2032), Mr Punya said. The OTP will need about 2.69 billion baht to develop three projects to extend boat services to people living in Pathum Thani province, north of Bangkok.
The first route will develop along the Prem Prachakon Canal. The OTP expects to have piers for passenger boat services connecting Wat Rangsit in Pathum Thani to the Bang Sue area in Bangkok.
The second route will be an extension along the Chao Phraya River from Pak Kret pier in Nonthaburi to Muang district in Pathum Thani.
The third route will be an extension route of the Prawet Buri Rom Canal on the section of Iam Sombat Market to Wat Sangkaracha.
The OTP is confident the plan will be approved and sent to the new cabinet for further approval this year as it is a major investment to alleviate traffic congestion in the capital and adjacent provinces, Mr Punya said.