Pattaya area residents say a 35.7 billion baht proposed expansion of Highway 7 would be an eyesore for tourists and want both the roadway and its off-ramps moved away from downtown.
At the latest in a series of public hearings on the Buraphawithi extension Nov. 20 at the Banglamung District Office, residents said they feared that current plans would dump even more traffic on to Sukhumvit Road by placing an offramp near the Big C supermarket on Sukhumvit Road. Instead, residents said, off-ramps should be placed near Thepprasit Road and Jomtien Second Road.
Vichai Pornsiripong, manager of the Buraphawithi-Pattaya highway feasibility study.
They also suggested the entire roadway be moved adjacent to East Pattaya’s railroad tracks. Building a concrete, elevated highway over Sukhumvit Road would require the uprooting of beautiful flower-covered medians and destroy the image of Pattaya for tourists entering the city, they said.
Plans call for construction of a six-lane expressway from Buraphawithi following the route of current Highway 34 with bypasses constructed in Chonburi, Sriracha and Laem Chabang. The work on what is now considered the Nongkham-Laem Chabang Highway will allow drivers coming from Nongkham to turn right into Sriracha and Pattaya-bound drivers from Laem Chabang to use a new U-turn bridge under the Nongkham-Laem Chabang Highway.
Plans also call for a doubling of the existing four lanes, with toll booths added at Bangphra, Nongkham and Pong. Construction will be divided in five phases. Study on the project continues through September, with construction hoped to begin in 2016.
Vichai Pornsiripong, manager for the feasibility study, immediately frowned upon the railroad tracks idea, saying it likely would conflict with other large infrastructure projects. However, he said, relocation of the off-ramps would be considered by the consultants with their conclusions to be presented at a future public hearing.