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Sisters at the centre of a roundabout controversy

Hot News: Heroines May Make Way for Smooth Traffic Flow

Sunday, January 27, 2008
TO IMPROVE Phuket's traffic flow, a proposal is being considered that would mean moving the Heroines Monument, the iconic tourist attraction that celebrates the deeds of the island's fighting sisters.

Some traffic experts consider that both the island's best-known traffic roundabouts, at the Heroines Monument and at Chalong Circle, should be replaced with high-technology traffic light systems.

This would be one of the keys to keeping Phuket's traffic flowing smoothly all day, every day.

Advocates of the changes point out that the Heroines are still greatly admired, generations after their stand against Burmese invaders.

But anyone who wishes to pay respects to the sisters in person has to brave the confused traffic at the circle to cross to the monument.

Four roads lead to the Heroines Circle, so a modern solution would require a relatively straightforward intersection with lights.

At Chalong, where five roads lead into the circle, a one-way system would be the likely alternative for traffic leading down or away from the narrow road to Chalong Pier.

A second route from the pier already exists to Chao Fa Road East, which could become the other half of the loop.

That would leave a sophisticated yet simple system of traffic lights to control the other four major roadways in a more conventional pattern.

The Heroines Monument overlooks the main intersection to the north of Phuket City, on the route to the airport, while Chalong Circle is the main intersection in the south of the island.

At present, because of the growing number of vehicles on Phuket roads, traffic at both the Heroines Monument and Chalong Circle only flows smoothly at peak times with the assistance of police officers, who monitor the flow and adjust the traffic accordingly.

However, many motorists have to undergo wrong-way detours at present, requiring U-turns and generating frustration.

Old-fashioned policing is the only way that the island's roads manage to cope at peak periods. However, a modern central CCTV-based system would enable a small number of police to do the job of many.

Point-duty at busy intersections carries police away every day from other tasks, with the island already suffering because of the extremely low ratio of officers to citizens.

A modern, integrated system could be the only way that Phuket's roads network will be able to cope with dramatically-increasing numbers of vehicles of all kinds.

Police have been involved in discussions with Saroj Suwinchai, director of the provincial office of the Highways Department, about the future of both the Heroines Monument and Chalong Circle.

However, in the case of Chalong Circle the permission of the local Or Bor Jor council has to be obtained. The island Governor may have to make the final decisions.

It has been pointed out that removing the Heroines Monument could actually see the sisters placed to better advantage for those who wish to celebrate their achievements.

While the Heroines remain highly-respected, the modern Phuket invasion of traffic seems to be impossible for the sisters to beat back.

Related article:
Numbers Grow in 2007 as Vehicles Clog Phuket

Complete article


Comments

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Sorry, some of these statements are ridiculously innacurate. "Old-fashioned policing" at Chalong circle has resulted in huge tailbacks, year after year. Also, it has been proved that roundabouts or traffic circles, are much more effective in keeping traffic flowing than stop lights.

Posted by Sam on February 18, 2008 09:19

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I'm not so sure. When traffic flows strongly down one street in one direction into a circle, that's when there are problems. So the police have to control Heroines and Chalong Circle traffic at peak hours. Elsewhere, traffic lights before the circles control the various flows to make large circles work. Small ones are easy. Big ones . . . traffic lights are better.

Posted by angelfire on February 18, 2008 19:27


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