Hoping to avoid the total gridlock that grips Pattaya on the final day of Songkran, police this year will keep the northern half of Beach Road open. Whether cars can actually use it is another matter.
Traffic inspector Pol. Lt. Col. Aruth Sapanon said Beach Road from Central through South Road and all of Walking Street will be closed from 2:30-8:30 p.m. – later than normal – and the rest of the street will remain open to traffic.
Based on history, however, it’s unlikely any cars will actually be able to move, as tens of thousands of people flood the beach. It’s likely the crowds, not traffic police, will decide what’s open or closed.
Sidestreets linking to Beach Road also will remain open, except for Central and South roads between Second and Beach Roads.
On Songran “wan lai” days before the Covid-19 pandemic, traffic across the city ground to a halt, from Sukhumvit Road to the major North, South and Central road arteries to Third Road. April 19 this year likely will be the same, as water play will be allowed on the first two lanes of each side of Sukhumvit Road.
Aruth said Beach Road will be patrolled by 100 officers and volunteers while “rapid response units” would be on call to help people with problems and motorists whose cars break down. The city has partnered with several garages for quick auto repairs, he said.