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Ire and rain will make Phuket less appealing and require better balance

Phuket Sees Ire and Rain: Underpass Creates One Big, Slow Phuket City

Sunday, December 2, 2012
Phuket News Analysis

PHUKET: From now on, ire and rain are likely to make Phuket less of a tropical paradise and more of an urban jungle as serious work begins on Phuket's 600 million baht underpass.

The rain, incidentally, is expected to last for a week. Fortunately it's confined to just Phuket, so those visitors heading to Phang Nga or Krabi should stay dry.

The ire will last a lot longer, at least for the two years of Central Festival Phuket underpass construction.

Phuketwan travelled by car from the Tesco Lotus junction in Phuket City to Chalong Circle last night about 6pm.

The trip took one hour, twice the time it would usually take, down the bypass road to Chao Fa Road West.

Tourists travelling to or from Phuket International Airport will need to make extra allowances to get to their destination on time.

And if there's a secondary issue, like bad weather, or a crash . . . Phuket will seem just like Bali.

The advent of the Phuket underpass puts to rest forever the debate about how to describe Phuket. Inevitably, the small town thinkers - the people who still imagine Phuket as it once was in the 20th century - have lost the argument.

What should happen is the creation of a better balance between Phuket The City and its natural delights, the beaches and the reefs.

People don't go on a tropical holiday to be trapped in traffic, so in compensation, the natural delights of Phuket have to be preserved at all costs.

Phuket, once beautiful all over, is now a city, a sprawling mass of traffic and interconnected rows of shophouses along main roads that stretch north and south, east and west.

It's a difficult cross for a tropical holiday island to bear.

A few blocks of Sino-Portuguese heritage remain at the heart of Old Phuket Town, but the vast urban district around the traditional heart is clearly now Phuket City, as the arrival of a Phuket underpass proves.

And the island is developing concrete outcrops so fast that it won't be long before Phuket City links to other cities and Phuket is one vast city, broken only by the beaches and a few green hills.

All this is worth contemplating the next time you are trapped in gridlock on Phuket on holidays. Bali, remind yourself, is even worse.

Our tip for those travelling between Phuket City and southern Phuket is to use Chao Fa Road East.

For a time it was far, far slower to navigate the Chao Fa Road East route than to take speedier Chao Fa Road West.

But guess what? The eastern road is now much, much faster. That's progress.

Comments

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Natural delights, beaches and reefs???
All the beaches are like Brighton on a bank holiday and all the reefs died a couple of years ago.Tropical paradise...
dream on.

Posted by Anonymous on December 2, 2012 10:49

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I suspect that if the sprawl doesn't end soon, Phuket will become just like BKK...Sad.

Posted by Ted Davis on December 2, 2012 13:32

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It seems Phuket around Patong and Phuket city is now similar to the traffic jammed Penang Island around and in George Town.
For that heavy traffic I do not like Penang (Other parts of Penang, the Western part is still full jungle and nice and easy going traffic, but that big city there, same a spreading cancer.)
Phuket goes down the same path! I start to dislike Phuket now also!

Posted by Alfred on December 2, 2012 13:35

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Phuket island is strongly in need of quality territory/construction planning overhaul, although it is clear, that all that what is in place will stand there until deprecated or better business idea will come into a mind of landlord.

Quality zoning is in general very difficult task, requiring high level of competence in number of disciplines, and it is imperative to have strong political dimensions, within which both strong will, executing capacity, adherence to good governance standards and being a visionary blend together.

Phuket is. quality zoning would be in particular challenging because of sustainability in respect of environmental issues and landscape alone.

Time and opportunity has been lost, monsters have been erected and vegetation disappeared under layer of concrete.

Realistically, in short term no improvements can be expected in Phuket.
I doubt as well that any improvements will happen in middle term.
Good chances exists in long term, i.e. in 25-50-75 years, as it will be full learning cycle, like in Europe in the middle of 20th century, when e.g. Rhein river in Germany had been polluted with industrial waste up to the uninhabitable level, but then lot of efforts been put to re-vitalize it and keep strong political eco-focus up to nowadays.

Posted by SUe on December 2, 2012 15:24

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55 yes for the last couple of years our trip to visit friends in Kata has been maybe 3 hrs highway from north of Trang and 1-2 hrs to get from Sarasin bridge to Kata central... no big deal but gets a bit tiring as the ano domino sets in.. still like Phuket and environs.
Think we will go via downtown Phuket next visit while the tunnel etc ....
A few years ago before new highway it was pretty slow now same same methinks.....

Posted by david on December 2, 2012 15:32

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"The advent of the Phuket underpass puts to rest forever the debate about how to describe Phuket. Inevitably, the small town thinkers - the people who still imagine Phuket as it once was in the 20th century - have lost the argument."

You are completely correct but their new argument that Phuket is now a concrete S*** Hole, with filthy beaches, garbage everyone, non-existent sidewalks and the lack of a decent public transport system is now clearly undeniable.

Posted by Graham on December 2, 2012 17:40

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Hate to blow a hole in your story but currently there is very little hold up due to the construction and the one hour time is the norm at 6pm you should get out more. When the construction starts to really hold things up it will be an hour and a half or more. There is currently no one parking along the construction zone so we have almost the same amount of space beyond to Q for the traffic light going South. I to though took Chao Fa Road East yesterday and traffic was light tonight I will do it again at 5:30 PM to see how it flows.

Posted by mike on December 3, 2012 08:39

Editor Comment:

There is no hole in our story. And we really don't appreciate being told to ''get out more.'' The manager of the pink bus service that circulates across Phuket City reports that circuits that took 90 minutes before the lanes were blocked now take three hours. That supports everything we've heard from other motorists and seen for ourselves. Our regular travels to Chalong from Phuket City take 30 minutes, and that's now doubled. Construction will not add further delays unless the designated area expands, which isn't planned at this stage.

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To say that one stop light that may slow traffic a small amount going south somehow slows traffic in the whole city and all the way to Chalong is just plain nuts to date there is very little change in traffic flow south due to construction north bound has a larger effect and I have been there and taken the time to look your three hour pink bus issue is a joke stop spreading things that are just plan made up (as real news) it's not the constructions fault traffic is bad all move this island and it's not going to get better as long as the population keeps growing period.

Posted by mike on December 4, 2012 12:52

Editor Comment:

I've removed your gratuitous personal insult but all your exaggerations, misjudgements and poor arguments remain intact. Sorry, nothing i could do.

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I was hoping the construction would take a few months, but two years... Car drivers are doomed.

Posted by Nick on December 19, 2012 14:47


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