Megabangna Shopping Center by SF Development Co., Ltd., in partnership with the Department of Highways and Samutprakan Province, officially opened the new U-turn bridge on National Highway 34, Bangna-Trad Road (KM. 7) on 25 December 2020 The new U-turn bridge was constructed to alleviate traffic congestion on Bangna-Trad Road, provide ease and convenience to the surrounding communities, reduce road accidents in the area, and serve as an integral part of the development of the main Eastern highway network.
Mr. Apirat Chaiwongnoi, Deputy Director of the Department of Highways, stated that: “The Department of Highways has developed a strategic plan to resolve traffic issues, not only in Bangkok but in and around the vicinity. We have estimated that in 2020, vehicle and public transportation has increased to up to three million people per day (nationwide), resulting from the expansion of economic, industrial, real estate and service sectors in Thailand. Although tourism has recently declined due to the COVID-19 situation, people still travel for pleasure during the weekends and on public holidays. Traffic on various major roads has increased substantially and now the average speed of travel is calculated at 13.64 km/per hour, which means that it takes upwards of two hours to drive into inner Bangkok or even longer. More time on the road affects traffic volume, especially in the areas on the outskirts of Bangkok, neighbouring areas and main roads that link between regions.”
“Developing an effective highway network infrastructure and integrated connection system are two major missions of the Department of Highways. Since these sophisticated highways serve as opportunities for economic development in Thailand, they are intended to help improve the quality of life of Thai citizens. This U-turn construction collaboration between the Department of Highways and Megabangna Shopping Center at Bangna-Trad KM.7 reduces traffic congestion and provides more convenience for travellers on the Bangna-Trad road.”
Ms. Paphitchaya Suwandee, Managing Director of Megabangna Shopping Centre, stated that: "Megabangna Shopping Center is committed to operating and developing its business for sustainable growth while strongly supporting surrounding communities with a vision of making Megabangna "The Great Meeting Place of Eastern Bangkok”. We have made many efforts to improve the quality of life for our visitors and surrounding communities, including construction of this new U-turn Bridge. Due to heavy traffic congestion on Bangna-Trad Road, we fully understand the traffic issues that our customers and those that use neighbouring roads face when heading to our shopping centre. For drivers with personal cars or people who use public transportation, it is evident that traffic congestion weakens quality of life and is mentally draining. Moreover, traffic takes a toll on the environment with more severe global warming and increased greenhouse effect. Since traffic congestion is one of the leading causes of air pollution and global warming due to heavy carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere from cars, we at Megabangna have done our homework and have found that, according to statistics released by the Energy Policy and Planning Office of the Ministry of Energy, in the first seven months of 2020 alone, on the average, Thailand used 30 million litres of gasoline and 65 million litres of diesel each day. These figures are staggering. Worse, total carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector were recorded at 33.8 million tons of CO2.”
“Although these alarming figures highlight the critical need to cut CO2 emissions, there is some hope. According to information from the Department of Environment and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), every litre of gasoline combustion saved reduces CO2 emissions by 2.1896 kg. In the case of diesel fuel, every 1 litre saved reduces CO2 emissions by 2.708 kg. So alleviating traffic congestion around the area is one way we can help solve this problem. This in turn, will create a chain reaction to reduce wasteful fuel consumption and air pollution in the surrounding areas.”
Ms. Suwandee sharing her motivation to alleviate traffic on Bangna-Trad Road, mentioned that: “Our collaboration with the Department of Highways and concerned government agencies led us to study the causes of traffic congestion in the area. From our surveys, it appears that inbound traffic congestion on Bangna-Trad Road occurs at the U-turn bridge at KM. 4.5. Most vehicles use this U-turn bridge to head towards the Eastern Ring Road for connection to Chonburi’s outbound motorway and Karnchanapisek Road to the Southern provinces. The U-turn bridge at KM. 4.5 is about 4 km. from Megabangna Shopping Center. In order to complete the integrated roadway network, reduce congestion at the KM. 4.5 U-turn bridge and on Bangna-Trad Road, we plainly saw that we could step forward to do something positive for our community. So our synergistic collaboration with the Department of Highways and our financial contribution for the construction of this new U-turn bridge at KM. 7 was done with great pleasure. The new U-turn bridge at KM. 7 helps shorten the travel time by roughly 10 minutes and reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions accordingly. Most importantly, it improves the quality of life of people who use Bangna-Trad Road.”
“We are poised to continue with the development of our sustainable business growth. In so doing, Megabangna has put in motion many other projects driven by conservation of the environment and improvement of natural resources around us. For example, we have initiated a solar power project to produce 1 megawatts of green energy for the Thai Electricity Network. We have also constructed a wastewater treatment plant that will treat up to 2,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day. We have also improved the air conditioning systems in the shopping centre to promote more efficient energy usage and with the creation of a 7-rai public park for our local community, we are dedicated to saving the environment every step of the way. Many more such projects upcoming will surely make a lasting improvement to our shopping mall and surroundings. Our goal is to be environmentally friendly and make positive contributions in every aspect of our business. Since we are The Great Meeting Place of Eastern Bangkok, we are much more than your typical shopping centre. We pride ourselves on providing good experiences, whether it be in business as a sustainable and environmentally friendly organisation, or as a leading shopping centre that offers the best shopping experience to our customers.”
The U-turn bridge project on National Highway 34, Bangna-Trad Road (KM. 7) was built by the Department of Highways. Structural supports connect to the Buraphawithi Expressway of The Expressway Authority of Thailand. Structural integrity of the U-turn bridge was inspected and certified by experts to ensure utmost safety. The project was then handed over to Samutprakan Province for traffic management to promote security, safety and reliability of the new U-turn bridge system and to alleviate traffic congestion in and around the surrounding area.