Pattaya begins planning for 2nd Sukhumvit tunnel

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Officials say the South Road intersection is plagued by all manner of traffic problems, from improper parking to misplaced traffic signs to road characteristics.

Almost four years after the Central Road bypass tunnel opened, Pattaya has begun planning for the next Sukhumvit Road underpass at South Road.

Even before construction started on the Central Road tunnel a decade ago, city officials had stated their desire to build at least three underpasses at North, Central and South Roads, and even Thepprasit Road.



On July 9, Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome chaired the first public hearing on how to rebuild the South-Sukhumvit intersection, with a tunnel topping the list of options.

Speaking at the Siamese Hotel meeting, project manager Somchai Prayongphan said the South Road intersection is plagued by all manner of traffic problems, from improper parking to misplaced traffic signs to road characteristics.


Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome chairs the first public hearing on how to rebuild the South-Sukhumvit intersection.

Prayongphan laid out the initial options suggested by the consulting company Pattaya hired to do the project’s feasibility study.

The first of those was a tunnel similar to the 1.9-kilometer-long Central Road tunnel that spans four lanes, each 3.5 meters wide. A traffic island separates opposing traffic and is decorated inside and features a landmark dolphin statue outside. The 837-million-baht underpass took more than three years to build.



The second option was a redesigned two-kilometer junction divided into four lanes with two for traffic headed toward Bangkok and two toward Sattahip. The same junction design would be used at Thepprasit Road.

A third option is an overpass on Sukhumvit Road that basically would be an above-ground version of the tunnel plan and would stretch to Thepprasit Road.



Finally, consultants suggested both an overpass and tunnel connecting South and Thepprasit roads.

Public hearings and revisions to the feasibility study will continue through the end of January before a decision is made.

The city plans to solve traffic problems at the South Pattaya junction (top) and Thepprasit Junction (bottom).