Despite having free reign to block closed bars and storefronts, contractors burying overhead power and utility wires along Walking Street have fallen behind schedule, with the project just 20 percent complete.
Thanu Surachaisikawith, head of the Provincial Electricity Authority’s power and cabling management division, said on June 25, only 27 of 40 manholes have been dug over a one-kilometer distance, although he is hopeful all will be done by July.
After that, contractors must lay 1.6-meter-wide pipes that will hold power lines, electrical-transmission equipment and lines owned by local telephone, internet and cable television companies.
He blamed discrepancies between a survey of Walking Street’s underground geography and reality for the delay. The first 20 manholes went in without a problem, but when workers started No. 21, they found a half-meter-wide high-pressure water pipe that Pattaya had laid and didn’t put on the blueprints.
That pipe runs all the way to Soi 16, so work on the last 20 manholes was delayed, Thanu said.
Thanu also said that the narrow streets cause a problem, as their large crane cannot be used for the entire length of the street. Traffic, when the street is not closed, was another excuse he used for delays, saying the Walking Street project has been one of the most difficult.
After the cable burying is finished, PEA will still need to install one hundred 50 cm x 1.5 m. power supply cabinets every 16 meters on both sides of Walking Street to deliver electric power to residents and businesses. Each cabinet can supply electricity to four buildings.
The PEA project was supposed to last only three months and, earlier, the utility said that because bars and businesses were closed, work could go even faster, as workers wouldn’t have to move equipment from in front of bars at night.
Reality, however, has proved differently, with work expected to last at least until September, a span of nearly nine months.