Democrats pitch 4 projects for South

Democrats pitch 4 projects for South

Hat Yai eyed as new hub for transport

Former Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva greets residents during a campaign walkabout in Bangkok's Constituency 1 covering Bang Rak district. He was helping to canvass for votes for the party's candidate, Jermmas Juenglertsiri. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Former Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva greets residents during a campaign walkabout in Bangkok's Constituency 1 covering Bang Rak district. He was helping to canvass for votes for the party's candidate, Jermmas Juenglertsiri. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Democrat Party will push for the development of four mega-projects to boost the economy in the southern region if it forms the next government.

The party's economic team led by Samart Ratchaphonsit on Thursday laid out the schemes to stimulate the economy in the South with Songkhla's Hat Yai eyed as a potential new transport hub.

First among them is a 13-kilometre monorail system with an investment of 16 billion baht to alleviate traffic congestion in Hat Yai during rush hours.

In the first phase, the monorail line, with 15 stations, will run from Khuan Lang to Ban Phru via Hat Yai railway junction, Kim Yong market, and Prince of Songkla University. The mass-transit system will be extended to Lop Buri Ramet Road and Hat Yai Park later.

The second project is a double-track railway for electric trains linking Hat Yai and Padang Besar to facilitate the flow of passengers and goods.

It is estimated to bring more tourists to Hat Yai, injecting 11 billion baht into the economy annually and stimulating border trade between Thailand and Malaysia.

Next is the construction of a 71km Hat Yai-Sadao motorway connecting Ban Khuan Sai Thong to the new Sadao customs checkpoint with an estimated cost of 40.7 billion baht.

According to Mr Samart, the party will also push for the building of three motorway routes, including a 1,100km project linking Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok with Nakhon Pathom.

The route will turn Nakhon Si Thammarat's Thung Song district into a goods distribution centre for the southern region.

The other two are an 853km motorway connecting Mae Sai in the North with Ayutthaya's Bang Pa-in district and a 710km route from Tak's Mae Sot to Nakhon Phanom in the Northeast.

He said the fourth project in the pipeline is the construction of an 18km bridge linking Surat Thani's Koh Samui to Nakhon Si Thammarat's Laem Tap in Khanom district, which is close to Surat Thani's Don Sak.

According to Mr Samart, the new transport option is expected to help bring tourists from Koh Samui to Hat Yai and the project, with an estimated cost of 25 billion baht.

It is being studied by the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat) under the supervision of the Transport Ministry.

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