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Mayor Pian Keesin accepts a floral tribute and support for his grand tunnel plan

Patong Residents March: 'We Need The Tunnel'

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Updating Report: Photo Album Above

ABOUT 100 people paraded down beach road in Patong today waving signs saying: ''We Need the Tunnel.'' The protest preceded a public meeting about whether a tunnel should be drilled through Patong Hill to link Patong and Phuket City.

Around 500 people gathered at Phuket Graceland Resort and Spa for the ''town hall'' style meeting, part of the 40-million baht feasability study for the tunnel that could eventually cost as much as 2.4 billion baht.

Among those in attendance were the Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-ngob, and the Phuket regional director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Bangornrat Shinaprayoon.

Patong Mayor Pian Keesin is a keen advocate of the tunnel, and has run for reelection using the tunnel as a major part of his platform.

Today a spokesperson for Patong's taxi clubs, Prayat Nopparat, told Phuketwan that the tunnel would speed the service in transporting tourists from the airport to Patong and be good for road safety.

Advocates of the tunnel say the winding route over Patong Hill is too dangerous. Opponents say that a crash in the tunnel could be even more risky.

The vision of tuk-tuks travelling through a new-technology, state-of-the-art piece of road engineering is bound to excite the imaginations of Phuket residents.

Patong Municipality and Epsilon, the company carrying out the feasibility study, have organised today's event.

Six variations of a tunnel route remain. Research will take about 20 months, having begun in 2009.

Once a specific route is chosen, the process of further research will take another 10 months. Compulsory acquisition of tract of private land could then require a year.

Construction would then take three years, the meeting heard.

In some of the plans, the tunnel runs for two kilometres. The entire route of the project could be as long as 3.25 kilometres.
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Comments

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You have to wonder if those 100 who marched are expecting to benefit from the 2.4 billion spending bonanza..

So many other, cheaper things that could be fixed first.

Posted by LivinLOS on April 27, 2010 09:44

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Tunnels require extensive monitoring and maintenance to keep them serviceable and safe. I seriously doubt that these two requirements could be met by the local people at all.

They cannot even maintain a workable above surface road, let alone a tunnel. The tunnel idea is but a dream in never never land. Don't even think about it, EVER.

Posted by Robin on April 27, 2010 09:45

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How come that it is always the expat community what is against any traffic related issues?

This is called progress (tunnel or road widening) and even Thailand deserve that!

Posted by DD on April 27, 2010 10:35

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I disagree with other comments. The sooner the better. This is good for Patong and Phuket and hopefully the start of action on a desperately needed transport system.

Posted by Peter on April 27, 2010 10:58

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Hey DD and Peter do you live with your heads in a beer mug or up yer butts? Check the above ground roads on the island dudes, you reckon they are in good shape ? No !

So you want a tunnel, why, can't you drive over the hill like people have been doing for years ?

And don't tell me how much safer a tunnel will be, hell, imagine a hillside collapse inside there ?

Carry on drinking now.

Posted by Dun on April 27, 2010 11:29

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I am sure I will not live long enough to see the tunnel in operation. But just in case, I hope the road over the hill will still be there, it will be much safer, I bet.

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on April 27, 2010 11:57

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I Wonder who will build the tunnel? and when?
I will take bets not in my lifetime....

Posted by barka on April 27, 2010 12:39

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Dun, I no longer visit Patong, along with many others living here, as that road is dangerous at the best of times.

Phuket's roads have changed for the better over the last 20 years.

Time to sort out Patong Hill. The Thais are quiet capable of building infrastructure. You, it seems, have no interest in progress or safety, or you may be skeptical, like many others, that a tunnel will ever be built.

Posted by Peter on April 27, 2010 16:29

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Please note that Patong Mayor Pian Keesin is running on a reelection platform for improved transportation outside of Patong.

Of course his responsibility is the transportation inside Patong, and he has no agenda to introduce a baht bus, along similar lines as Pattaya.

If there is a budget for three tunnels, one may just see the light of day, however if the budget is just for one, that means that just a third of it will be built.

Posted by John Smith on April 27, 2010 17:40

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Peter hi, progress and safety happened when I moved off the silly island onto the mainland. Man, you see some good blacktop here.

They are smaller areas sure, but they build their roads properly.
Sorry Phuket, you leave me cold with stupid ideas. Put in a baht bus.

Posted by Dun on April 27, 2010 18:07

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I'm sorry, but this idea of a tunnel here has got to be the biggest joke to date!...Those with 'authority" here, can't even maintain the existing roads and infrastructure let alone keep things working smoothly...and now they think they can build a tunnel, let alone maintain it??

Posted by dream on on April 27, 2010 19:15

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Come on wake up just build a raised highway starting back down the road in Katu so it isn't so steep like now and shooting right over the hill from Katu to Patong and leave the existing road for the motor Bikes. Save a lot of time and money to plan and build.

Posted by mike on April 27, 2010 21:06

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mike, your ya bah pipe is warm and waiting for you, kid.
Delusion is the art of Phuket and ..... well I never .......

Posted by Robin on April 27, 2010 21:40

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'Prayat Nopparat, told Phuketwan that the tunnel would speed the service in transporting tourists from the airport to Patong and be good for road safety'

Speed AND Road safety in the same sentence- sums up the driving mentality here! For anyone who actually believes this tunnel will ever be bored ( and they are bored not built) I have some very nice swamp land for sale. Regarding the ability to complete infrastructure projects the 200m Nanai River projects still hasn't been completed.

Posted by Mister Ree on April 27, 2010 22:43

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Ha,ha, ha, haa!

Posted by Richard on April 28, 2010 02:25

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This tunnel idea is beyond ridiculous. Blatant ripoff of taxpayers baht.

Posted by BigP on April 30, 2010 17:29


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