The blockaders were mostly neighbors of an expecting 25-year-old woman who was raped by 17-year-old twins north of Phuket International Airport on Saturday night.
The large local Phuket crowd wanted an apology from the twins but anger grew when it was learned that three youths pulled in for questioning before the arrest of the twins had been bashed by police.
It was difficult to tell who was more upset - the protesters or the tourists caught up in a massive traffic jam that extended from the bridge conecting Phuket to the mainland to Thalang, about 15 kilometres south.
''After four hours of waiting I gave up and left my car in the middle of the road,'' one irate visitor wrote to Phuketwan ''Why are police at the Phuket [entry] checkpoint not informing people not to enter?''
Travellers from Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi heading to the airport found themselves trapped. Flights to Europe, Russia and Australia were all delayed with up to 100 passengers missing from one flight and a Russian pilot among those caught up in the long street dispute.
Phuket's Governor Maitree Intrusud arrived about 10pm and told protest leaders that four officers would be transferred immediately out of Tachatchai Police Station while a committee investigated claims of the beatings.
Later the superintendent at the station volunteered that he too would be moving out.
With the lifting of the blockade about 11.30pm, Airports of Thailand officials who manage Phuket International Airport reported that many flights had been delayed, but there were no cancellations.
Today will come the discussion about whether the protest could have been foreseen and whether more should be done to prevent people taking justice into their own hands.
Earlier this year, tuk-tuk drivers in the west coast tourist hub of Patong blocked traffic in the one-way system until they, like the residents of Mai Khao last night, got what they wanted.
Although it's illegal to identify minors accused of crimes, photos of the twins have been published widely on Facebook.
Lawlessness and lack of controls on Phuket is one of its major problems.
Residents appear to take the hint from tuk-tuk and taxi drivers who charge excessive fares and blacken the island's name knowing that authorities are unable or unwilling to modernise transport on Phuket.
Too often compromise is employed to settle disputes when what Phuket desperately needs is strict enforcement of Thailand's laws.
The traffic on Thepkasattri Road may be back to normal today but Phuket has a long way to go.