Under construction since 2009 and with only 20 percent more of the work completed in the past year, Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome vowed Pattaya’s white-elephant football stadium will be completed before the city is to host the Asian Athletics Championships in 2023.
After visiting the 20,000-seat stadium on Soi Chaiyapruek 2 March 5, Sonthaya said the long-delayed project is now 60 percent complete. He pronounced it 40 percent complete during his last visit to the site in January 2020.
The main grandstand structures are finished with only the roof, landscaping and decoration left, Sonthaya said. The slow progress over the past year was due to the problems with the foundation of the south amphitheater.
The ground under the south amphitheater was too rocky to drill and, due to air pollution concerns, workers could not use explosives that would send microscopic dust into the air.
He claimed that the entire project would be completed by the end of year, long before the July 2023 Asian Games are to be held there.
Sonthaya should be wary of making such predictions. After all, his brother, former mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, finally gave up predicting completion after missing deadline after deadline.
Begun in 2009, the 774-million-baht sports complex was intended to house 12 different sport fields, a swimming pool, tennis court, 12 main and minor sport stadiums and a 500-car parking lot.
The first phase of the 254-rai project, with 90 million baht spent on 5,000 of the planned 20,000 seats at the football stadium, was completed in September 2010. Grass was planted and construction of the final 15,000 seats was supposed to begin with a 500-million-baht budget later that year, with completion set for late 2012.
Nothing was done for six years.
In 2018, Chonburi Province obtained 398 million baht in funding for 2018-2020 and hired Rama 2-HT Joint Venture Co to finish the job. Work restarted in 2019 on the west grandstand roof and east and south grandstands.