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Ooops, it's too soon to take the underpass through Phuket City

Phuket's Chalong Circle Crush May be Solved with Year Long Study Plus Underpass

Thursday, May 30, 2013
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

The driver of this car tried to take the Central Festival Phuket underpass route through Phuket City on Friday. There was only one problem. Construction is still in progress.

Original Report

PHUKET: Chalong Circle, that much maligned five-point intersection in southern Phuket, may become the recipient of - wait for it - a Phuket underpass.

Experts at the Phuket Roads Department today discussed solutions to the circle crush and decided to undertake a year-long study.

Chalong Circle is a touchy subject with many motorists who, caught in the logjam, are forced to make u-turns to get where they wish to go.

Long-term residents will recollect attempts to solve the circle gridlock with traffic lights. That didn't quite work.

Today Kasam Sriwaranon, the Road Department's chief engineer from Bangkok, suggest the u-word as the most likely possible solution.

He may have a point. Local authorities were at today's meeting and everyone recognises that Chalong Circle represents the key to unlocking traffic flow to the south.

With underpasses under construction or planned for other key intersections, Chalong Circle's turn may come fast.

Did someone say Heroines' Monument?

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Considering the amount of flooding Hayek sees every year, I can only say that an underpass is the worst possible option.

Opening a simple route from/to Patak Road leading to Rawai and bypassing the circle would already go a long way to relieve congestion and would be cheap. Entry/exit somewhere around the Shell gas station.

Waste a year and come up with a bad solution so expensive that funding will take another year or more to be allocated.

Posted by ThaiMike on May 30, 2013 22:23

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A year long study? Really? Rocket scientists at work again? NO! Not another underpass that will take about 5 years to complete, if ever. They haven't completed one yet and now want to build two more. And how can a 5 way underpass work? It's such a small area, I can't even imagine how a multi fly overpass could work in that area... It is unbelievable the lack planning of any infrastructure anywhere in Phuket. It's just brilliant!

Posted by Jim McGowan on May 30, 2013 22:39

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An underpass seems a very poor option. Flooding is often a big issue in that area. Surely they could re-route the Rawei to Airport road somewhere behind HomePro as the direct main road, with traffic lights at a crossroads junction somewhere near the Green Man, to divert to Kata/Karon & down to Chalong Circle. Close the existing roads to Rawei & Airport somewhere near Chalong Circle, making them dead end roads for local access only.

Posted by Logic on May 30, 2013 22:50

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@ThaiMike: Actually, such a solution exists already, after the "deadly corner" coming from Kata, turn right passing the former Phuket Stunt Show, and coming out near the Orchid Farm to the road to Rawai. In the other direction, this road is a good short-cut, too. A nice idea might be to fix all the potholes on that way...

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on May 30, 2013 23:20

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First of all we need to separate motorbikes from cars. All cars will end up on a double split T-intersection. Chalong peer road will be a walking street with daily muay thai fights. The motorbikes will spiral up in a donut shaped highway that triplesplits up in each direction and is covered in blue led lights and red lasers shining on a big white elephant.

Posted by praesert on May 30, 2013 23:50

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Road from the airport, Big C, etc., about 1 km before circel to Patak Road will also help a lot

Posted by Hans on May 30, 2013 23:56

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Experts at spending money and achieving not a lot the traffic light fiasco proved there fortitude and wisdom in planning matters previously why do people repeat the same mistakes and expect a different result this time its the flooding underpass.

Posted by slickmelb on May 31, 2013 05:26

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I remember the traffic pigs being installed, but were they ever turned on and tried for a decent length of time? Hopefully after a years study and another year plus asking for budget, the other two underpasses will be working and have proved to be a failure at their intended job that Chalong will try something more suitable.

Posted by Duncan on May 31, 2013 07:06

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- Fritz Pinguin

I am aware of that but that junction on the hill is deadly dangerous and I would not recommend using it to anyone for this reason.

Around Shell the road is 4 lanes wide with excellent visibility to both directions. Build a small acceleration lane to join the main flow of traffic and a turn-off lane coming downhill from Kata would be enough.

Naturally there should be a road built to connect to the existing road passing the Irish consulate in the back you also mention.

Posted by ThaiMike on May 31, 2013 09:10

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Too many cars on this island causes traffic jams everywhere these days. And still the bus routes are at a stand still. Today is the last day of may. And I remember reading last month that there was gonna be another meeting in regards the busses. What happened? Did the meeting take place? And if so, what's the outcome? Or am I just wishful thinking here? I might sound negative, but I do believe that it will only get worse.

Posted by Charles on May 31, 2013 09:51

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There are a lot of cars, a whole lot more than when I came settled here in 95, at that time Thepkassatri looked deserted on a Sunday...now it is worse than Sukhumvit most days. But a lot of the problem with the traffic congestion is not just due to the no of cars but due to unauthorised use of road space for i.e. parking, business and a few poorly thought traffic lights at the main roads. Though the task is enormous it would be nice to see the Police enforce the law and have illegally parked cars and businesses removed for the benefit of the common good. will it happen ?

Posted by Sailor on May 31, 2013 10:22

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Why not moving Chalong Police Station to another part of Chalong-Rawai and use the land and adjacent lands including the old petrol station and the market to built a large roundabout around a park with an overpass access? A public hearing may help to find the best project to develop Chalong car circus. It is better to have one who knows than 10 who don't know.....

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 31, 2013 11:05

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Driver education along with actual punishments for infringements would go a long way. Roundabouts are to encourage traffic flow! but the selfish self important nature of 90% of the drivers here render them useless.

Posted by eezergood on May 31, 2013 11:34

Editor Comment:

Ninety percent is an unfair exaggeration. We'd say 70 percent are careful, caring drivers.

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So now they finally start talks on Chalong Circle where they should have started from the beginning before trying to solve problems at Central and Lotus. Tunnels are not the solution and flyovers would be quicker and cheaper to build. I have not seen so many, if any, tunnels in Bangkok. But I guess there is a calculation in percent of the building cost for those greedy persons in charge. The more it cost the bigger take. A one year study of the Chalong Circle is a waste of money. What should be done is to halt the tunnel at Lotus and start a one year study of the hole traffic situation on Phuket for the next 20 years. This should include everything such as roads, bus service, skytrains, train connections, airport, ferries and so on. Yes, this is an multi billion project but I think that all that money that Phuket sends to Bangkok in taxes can cover it. Trying to patch up the problems one by one will in the end generate the same cost with a very pore result. Could Phuket Wan make an interview with Phuket Roads Department that share some light on this so that we who live here can make a decision whether to stay or move elsewhere as this matter is only one part of the catastrophically development on Phuket.

Posted by Jens in Chalong on May 31, 2013 11:56

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Crossing the circle several times a day, the solution was in my mind since years. A simple bridge, going up from Viset Road with 2 lanes, one lane leading into Chaofah East and one into Chaofah West. The connection to Kata and to the Pier stays below. This way all the major North / South traffic is gone and the remaining traffic from Kata and the Pier should flow easily. I would also suggest not to allow motorbikes on the bridge, they can use the old route below to keep traffic flowing unobstructed above. As all roads (Viset, Chaofah East and West) are 4 lane anyway, the solution is simple, cheap and can be build without disturbing the traffic flow much. A tunnel is a nightmare from this point of view and too expensive anyway. I can't see why this needs to be studied for a year?

Posted by Hajo on May 31, 2013 13:06

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Waiting for the Marine office to come up with."We will have a year long study of a car ferry from Chalong pier to various places on the Island"

Posted by richie on May 31, 2013 13:12

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@richie
Khun Chief of Phuket's Marine Office 5, Khun Phuripat Theerakulpisut should use the brand new and useless pier at Rawai Beach nearby the sea-gypsy village to ferry the cars to Sarasin Bridge and vice-versa? why not?

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 31, 2013 14:19


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