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Phuket Residents off Main Road Say 'We Are Prisoners of Traffic'

Friday, February 13, 2015
PHUKET: Residents near the notorious Koh Kaew u-turn in Phuket's Thepkasattri Road complained to the holiday island's governor today about being unable to leave their homes by road.

About 30 people who live in lanes around the junction told Governor Nisit Jansomwong that the pressure of traffic along Phuket's main road often makes it close to impossible for them to join the bumper-to-bumper stream that confines their movements.

One resident, Wijit Chamnina, 58, said he worked as a contractor and always had a lot of trouble getting out of his soi and then back again.

Police have proposed banning parking along the main road through Koh Kaew to enable traffic to flow more smoothly. Often, three lanes of traffic have to contract to two through the area.

Governor Nisit said he would look at the solutions on offer and perhaps try them one by one to see which option relieved the problem.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Putting traffic lights at the Heroines circle would avoid lots of congestion caused by the closure of the circle necessitating U-turns. (it only moves the problem elsewhere)
Do some traffic modeling and actually have the traffic lights syncronised.

Posted by A local on February 13, 2015 19:00

Editor Comment:

The Koh Kaew stretch is well back from Heroines' Circle. Traffic lights are not likely to fix either bottleneck.


The traffic lights in Koh Kaew have created much of the traffic chaos. Previousy traffic flowed. However, once the traffic lights were installed delays (long delays) ensued and I recall at that time reports in the media referencing the local community being happy with the traffic lights as it meant they could now more easilly get out of their sois and onto the main road. Guess the critical limit of traffic has now been reached and a Plan B (C and D) is needed. Removing parked cars will help a little and worth a go... but then police aren't known for enforcing laws so I don't see there being a genuine impact there to be honest. Perhaps the relevant department could actually go somewhere and learn about traffic. It does seem a lot of their road and traffic decisions are poor at best.

Posted by Duncan on February 14, 2015 06:35


As regards traffic lights solving problems, they often make things worse. Patong switched on several traffic lights in the last month and I observe a significant increase in the time needed to get out of, into, or indeed around, Patong at peak times.

Posted by geoff on February 14, 2015 09:23


Duncan makes some good points.
Many junctions have been signalised recently, some only a few metres apart. Their general effect is to increase delays at those junctions. That's because before the lights were installed, traffic moved through the junction whenever there were gaps. By allocating a fixed time to each separate movement, the signals create periods when no traffic crosses the junction, increasing delays and queues.
The delays are increased further because the signals are set to a simple fixed-time programme which takes no account of traffic variations through the day. In other countries, signal phases are varied - either on a rotating daily cycle or real-time by detecting traffic flows on the junction approaches and adjusting the red and green phases to maximise throughput. Where junctions are close together, phases are synchronised.
It seems that in Phuket the signal phases are set to fixed times which do not reflect traffic flows.
It's another case of Thailand adopting technology but lacking the skills to manage it efficiently. Every road user pays the price in delays and higher fuel consumption.

Posted by jonas on February 14, 2015 11:05

Editor Comment:

Q: If the intersections are always set to fixed times, why are police on duty during peak periods? A: Because every effort is made to deal with excessive traffic by adjusting the flow where possible.


I have a great idea to fix the traffic problems on this road. Dig it up and put a light rail down it instead. No, hang on, that would be silly, no one would do that.

We all know the real solution is public transport but thanks to the taxi thugs we are not allowed that luxury on Phuket.

Why they don't build another road from bypass road underneath the big power lines is beyond me.

Posted by Amazing Thailand on February 15, 2015 15:32

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