Controversial Sukhumvit footbridge plan modified

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Pattaya engineers announced numerous design changes to a proposed wheelchair-accessible footbridge across Sukhumvit Road to allow construction to finally proceed following threats of legal action.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh laid out the alterations for a large group of disabled residents, students from the Redemptorist School for Persons with Disabilities, representatives from Department of Rural Roads and other officials at a meeting June 2.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh explains alterations being made to a proposed wheelchair-accessible footbridge across Sukhumvit Road.
Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh explains alterations being made to a proposed wheelchair-accessible footbridge across Sukhumvit Road.

As part of the Central Road bypass tunnel project, two new pedestrian overpasses were planned. The first is under construction in front of Pattaya City School 5. The foundation, stairs and supports for the steel overpass are finished and the entire structure is expected to be completed soon.

However, disabled students at the Redemptorist school complained their long-running request for an overpass equipped with elevators has been ignored for years. First proposed more than five years ago, it has been held up most recently by threats of legal action by Pattaya Money Service Co., which claimed the structure would jeopardize safety for customers of its Pattaya Pawnshop.

The pawnshop operator claimed the bridge would allow thieves to stake out the shop, putting customers with cash or valuables in their pockets at risk. In addition, there are several banks in the area that could be cased for victims by robbers hanging out of the bridge, the company asserted.

Working with the Rural Roads Department, Pattaya City Hall modified the design of the planned footbridge by altering the design of the stairs and making the walls of the lifts glass to improve visibility.

Moreover, the bridge abatement was moved to alleviate the concerns of Pattaya Money Service.
Ronakit said it is hoped all the proposed changes finally will allow construction to begin.