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Crash through: Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob tears down a wall today

Phuket's Governor Smashes Way for New Road

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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PHUKET is close to having a new road as Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob, swinging a sledgehammer, competed with a bulldozer to break down a couple of walls today.

The bulldozer proved more efficient, but the governor probably deserves greater credit. The new road, which runs from the bypass road to Phuket City's popular Surakul Sports Stadium on Maeluan Road, is expected to ease congestion at the Central Festival intersection.

It will become the first major infrastructure success for the governor when the final short stretch of dirt becomes a two-lane blacktop before the end of April.

Perhaps the governor picked up some wrecking tips during his recent visit to the ITB Berlin travel fair, where the Berlin Wall fell two decades ago, uniting East and West.

Other dignitaries who wielded the sledgehammer today included the chief executive of the Phuket Provincial Administrative organisation, Paiboon Upatising.

Two residents whose dwellings made way for the road were presented with the keys to their new homes. The almost-complete road is two-way and zig-zags from the bypass road through to the rear of the stadium.

A large condominium development by Phanason is expected to increase traffic in the area within a year or two.

The road also emerges close to Phuket City's large Chinese cemetery on the slopes of Rang Hill, where many of the ancestors of Phuket's most powerful families are buried.

Each year, the scrub that grows around the elaborate memorials is burned back in readiness for the family days close to next month's Songkran New Year Festival.

Three and sometimes four generations congregate for graveside gatherings and paint and garden to fully restore the bond with their ancestors.

It's one of those aspects of Phuket's culture that deserves greater interest from expat residents and tourists. The families are always hospitable and delighted to have strangers join their picnics.
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