Pattaya tunnel project delayed

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The Sukhumvit-Central roads bypass tunnel will not open as planned this month, with holidays and insufficient work space pushing back its opening.

The 837-million-baht tunnel was supposed to be completed by the end of February after more than two years of traffic-clogging construction. But work is only 92 percent complete and a construction foreman on site said it’s unknown how long the final 8 percent will take.

The Sukhumvit-Central roads bypass tunnel will not open as planned this month, with holidays and insufficient work space pushing back its opening.
The Sukhumvit-Central roads bypass tunnel will not open as planned this month, with holidays and insufficient work space pushing back its opening.

Project manager Chairoj Thammniramai did not answer repeated telephone calls from the Pattaya Mail.

The on-site foreman claimed that the many government holidays – most on the calendar before work began – contributed to the delays.

He also complained that crews have been hampered by busy Sukhumvit Road. The need to keep as many lanes as possible open has cramped the construction workers, leaving them insufficient space to operate, he said.

News of the delay will surprise few, as most critics predicted a construction job of this size would never be completed on time.

But there are positive signs: A recent deluge that left many parts of Pattaya flooded had no effect on the inside of the tunnel, which remained dry.

Workers are busy inside the tunnel doing interior work on electrical and drainage systems and even painting.

Workers say an added layer of complexity was added with the planned construction of an elevator-equipped pedestrian bridge over Sukhumvit Road near the northern end of the tunnel zone.

While not directly impacting the tunnel, the bridge will be built by the same work crews now finishing up underground work with completion of the overpass expected by the end of the summer.

Update: Tithiwat Anuruthikul, head of operations for the Central Road bypass tunnel project, said the tunnel might be opened for use on April 13.