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Phuket Connects the Highway Dots While Bali's Roads Bog Down

Sunday, September 2, 2012
PHUKET: Two radical routes are being proposed to give Phuket an alternative to the sole north-south Thepkasattri Road route that can become slow and has been blocked by crashes.

The routes are both being examined closely and the likelihood is that a second highway route to Phuket International Airport will win approval next year.

Although Bali and Phuket are seen as regional rivals with each having advantages, Phuket is a clear winner when it comes to roads.

Bali tourism is being choked todeath by gridlock. Provision for road-widening and forward planning on Phuket has been exceptional when it comes to roads.

Phuket has 11 road-widening projects to expand existing thoroughfares from two lanes to four lanes, and seven bypass plans for areas where the growth of communities has created slow through traffic bottlenecks.

The essential shorter route from Chalong to Patong through the hills now has a 100 million baht budget and will almost certainly win approval.

The link from the road by the Luang Pu Supa Temple in Chalong to Patong's HarSip Pee Road will dramatically speed up travel between the west coast hub and the island's south and south east.

Perhaps as important is the alternative north-south highway that would prevent tourists and travellers missing flights if there are hold-ups in Thepkasattri Road.

Much to the joy of those who travel regularly to and from Phuket International Airport, the airport link from Thepkasattri Road has just been broadened from four two lanes to four, reducing travelling times and improving safety.

The same kind of transformation has already come in other parts of Phuket - and the second north-south highway will also add to Phuket's appeal for residents and visitors.

Two alternatives are being looked at and have already been the subject of public meetings, says the Director of Phuket's Department of Highways, Samak Lordwonghad.

The first alternative would mean travellers from Phuket airport ignoring the left turn to Thepkasattri Road and continuing down route 4031, the Thepkasattri-Nai Yang Road.

About three kilometres down the road - which would be widened from the existing two lanes to four - a right turn would lead south to Phuket City, intersecting with the Bypass Road opposite the Outlook shopping mall.

The second option continues to use the broadened road from Thepkasattri Road to Phuket airport.

But instead of turning left or right at the junction, continues through the huge billboards to take a route down Phuket's east coast, rejoining Thepkasattri Road in Phuket City at Kor Kaew.

Unlike some other departments, Highways is reasonably visionary and looks at Phuket's future needs five and 10 years from now.

Comments

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I have driven around in Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Philippines and Laos. Burma, Vietnam and Indonesia I've just visited, not driven around myself.

I've always thought of the road network in Thailand to be above average for this region. Only Malaysia has a better one. Singapore is not really a fair comparison, being just 30% bigger than Phuket.

Too bad the driving culture is nowhere near on par with the quality of the road network but that's a separate issue for the police to address.

Posted by Andrew on September 2, 2012 12:40

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With all the widening of the roads coming up, does this mean, we will not see the railway system that they were talking about?

Posted by Charles on September 2, 2012 14:57

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Anyone else remember about 3 or four years back the 'pylon' route was being mooted, mainly along Gov't land? Land was being donated or bought up for this project under the auspices of the then Governor but it seemed to fade into oblivion.

Posted by Mister Ree on September 2, 2012 15:53

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I think its great news that this is being addressed.

It means, more cars can park illegally on the roads with no one doing anything about it.

Posted by Tbs on September 2, 2012 22:30

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Your on drugs if you think anything to do with future road projects is "resonably visionary" I have lived in places with visionary road projects and Phuket is not one of them. When you make a lists in which one villager is able to put a hult to a projects for years and sometimes stop it alltogether one could hardly be part of any visionary road project. Phuket is 10 years behind on it's roads to population and will likely never catch up until the population stops growing for at least 10 years.

Posted by mike williams on September 3, 2012 08:03

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Yes, roads in Bali are narrow and overcrowded, but at least the Balinese will treat you, as a tourist, like a human being, and will be polite, modest and genuinely friendly and charming, will speak good English with you, and won't try to rip you off at every opportunity or even resort to violence if there's a dispute over the price of something. The difference between the beautiful and gracious Balinese people and the mafia of Phuket is like chalk and cheese. Added to that, the variety of landscapes in Bali are much more beautiful than Phuket. Bali is a very big island and there's so much to see in Bali if you venture beyond the usual tourist hotspots. World-class surfing second only to Hawaii in the world, too. I formerly lived in Phuket for several months. I've now been living in Bali for over a year and I would never go back to Thailand. Bali has culture, art, music, dance and kind-hearted people, Thailand has ladyboys, prostitutes, beer bars and shopping malls.

Posted by Martin on September 3, 2012 19:16

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I saw now, Phuket is becoming, already? a Penang traffic wise.
I did not feel well in Penang around the main city!
I feel not well in most parts of Phuket on the roads now!
I doubt that can be sufficient handled.

Posted by Alfred on September 3, 2012 19:40


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