Engineer assures Pattaya business leaders Sukhumvit tunnel won’t flood

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An engineer from the department building the 837.4 billion baht traffic-bypass under Sukhumvit Road assured Pattaya business leaders that the 420-meter-long tunnel would not flood.

Vichan Khunakulsawat from the Department of Rural Roads told the Feb. 11 meeting of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association he is frequently asked whether the tunnel now under construction will flood. He said people are skeptical, likely because of the chronic flooding the rest of the city suffers during nearly every heavy downpour.

This artist’s illustration shows an entrance to the tunnel.  Entrances on both sides will be at the top of 3-meter inclines to protect the tunnel from flooding.This artist’s illustration shows an entrance to the tunnel.  Entrances on both sides will be at the top of 3-meter inclines to protect the tunnel from flooding.

However, the engineer explained, while the tunnel itself lies five meters under Sukhumvit Road, the entrances to it are at the top of a three-meter incline. That means flood waters on Central Road or Soi Pornprapanimit have to reach 3 meters deep to begin to enter the tunnel.

He added that even if water does enter the tunnel, subterranean drainage systems would remove it.

The PBTA meeting was to update progress on the three-year project and its impact, so far, on traffic.

Pol. Col. Phisit Proiroongroj, head of traffic enforcement for the Chonburi Provincial Police, said Banglamung and Pattaya police are responsible for enforcing traffic rules and parking in the affected area. He said Pattaya officials have been working hard to promote traffic-flow and parking changes required by the construction.

Five meters – 1.5 lanes – bordering Sukhumvit’s center median are closed to traffic from the Boonthavorn shop to Soi Wat Boonsampan in the initial stage of construction. Parking is banned in the construction zone while work is in progress and traffic from North Pattaya and Highway 7 cannot turn right on to Central Pattaya Road. Likewise, traffic from South Pattaya is barred from turning right onto Pornprapanimit Road.

On the east side of Sukhumvit Road, sois Khao Talo, Khao Noi, Pornprapanimit, and Boonsampan were all changed to one-way streets connected by the railroad-access road to improve traffic flow along Sukhumvit.