UDON THANI, Feb 22 – The Cabinet on Wednesday endorsed the construction of a double track railway for the Bangkok–Nong Khai route to be completed in 2019 ahead of the earlier schedule in 2025, said Deputy Government Spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard.
The project will use part of the 140 billion baht budget earlier approved by the cabinet for nationwide railway development.
The dual railway construction was proposed by a joint public and private sector committee tackling economic problems in the northeastern region.
The construction of Bangkok-Nong Khai line will facilitate goods transportation and travel to neighbouring countries of Laos and China.
Another project to build a 336-km railway route from Khon Kaen to Nakhom Phanom is expected to become operational in 2017, serving about 5.4 million passengers and handling transportation of goods of about 250,000 tonnes per year, the deputy government spokesman said.
Railway construction is part of logistics developments to link Thailand and neighbouring countries in preparation for the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
Moreover, expansion of road traffic lanes for routes 211 and 212 along the Mekong River with a budget of 50-60 billion baht was considered.
The cabinet meeting assigned the transport ministry to consider investment projects in logistics development, where 620 billion is to be allocated.
A special economic zone encompassing Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom and Nong Khai was discussed to boost trade and investment along the border.
Opening hours of the border checkpoint in Nakhon Phanom will be extended from the current 6am to 6pm to 6am to 10 pm.
Meanwhile, Chalitrat Chantharubeksa, deputy government spokesman, said that the cabinet gave a green light to a project to develop water resources in Udon Thani, with the budget of 964 million baht to solve flood problems.
A budget of five billion baht for 119 water management projects was also considered following the Prime Minister’s trip to flood-hit provinces last week.