City approves Central-Sukhumvit tunnel project

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2081

Construction could begin in October

Construction of a traffic-relief tunnel under the intersection of Central and Sukhumvit roads could begin as soon as October after Pattaya officials approved the 800 million baht project.

Approval of the Central-Sukhumvit junction bypass – which calls for four subterranean lanes to be built under the busy intersection to separate through and downtown Pattaya-bound traffic – comes after several public hearings showing off various designs. Public feedback centered on a roofed roadway, 1,900 meters long, running from Pornprapanimit Road, under Sukhumvit and ending on Central Road.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed traffic tunnel under the intersection of Central and Sukhumvit roads. An artist’s rendering of the proposed traffic tunnel under the intersection of Central and Sukhumvit roads.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome explained that only 420 meters of the roadway would be covered. The 20-meter-wide roadway will have air ventilators, drainage, security cameras and a fire extinguisher system. There will also be a U-turn constructed in the middle of the tunnel with and island adorned with dolphin sculptures.

The Department of Rural Roads will soon take the city’s plans to the national government for budgeting. Construction is hoped to begin in October, about 10 months after Itthiphol’s original prediction, and is estimated to last just 27 months, although Pattaya’s record on road projects, such as Jomtien Beach’s Second Road, is often off the mark by years.

While the years of construction likely will make traffic worse, Itthiphol promised that the tunnel, when completed, will see congestion drop precipitously. “Traffic is one of the main obstacles to tourism,” the mayor said.

Pattaya officials later want to build bypasses at the Sukhumvit terminus of North, South and Thepprasit roads.