The Department of Highways has opened the Pattaya-Maptaphut extension on Motorway Route 7, on a trial basis before tolls will be collected in September.
Four years in the making, the May 22 official soft opening was chaired by Minister of Transport Saksiam Chidchob.
Entrance to the highway in Pattaya is at Mabprachan Interchange between the Pattaya and Pong toll gates on the Bangkok-Pattaya Motorway No. 7.
Two sections, however, remained closed; one at Huay Yai interchange connecting to Sukhumvit Road in front of Ocean Marina, and the other at Khao Chee On interchange connecting to Highway 331. The plans are to have them open by September.
Saksiam said that the 32-kilometer extension consists of three toll gates – Huay Yai, Khao Chee On and U-Tapao. The project was completed with an investment of 17 billion baht for construction and land expropriation.
From the exit at the U-Tapao toll gate, linking Sukhumvit Road, motorists can head to U-Tapao Airport and the Maptaphut industrial estate.
The toll charges will begin in September. The toll fee from Bangkok to U-tapao is 130 baht for cars, 210 baht for six-wheeled trucks and 305 baht for larger trucks.
It is expected that about 36,000 vehicles will use the Pattaya-Maptaphut extension daily.
Motorway Route 7 is an optional route to increase transportation and logistics efficiency of the industrial sector and to upgrade the transportation network in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) areas. (TNA)