Pattaya mulls ripping up South Road to widen sidewalks to Walking Street

Deputy Mayor Pattana Boonsawad and his crew inspect the Beach Road construction site at the beginning of Walking Street.

Anyone who has ever stumbled along the narrow sidewalks on each side of Walking Street’s entrance has wondered, “Why doesn’t Pattaya widen these things?”

That might finally happen.

Deputy Mayor Pattana Boonsawad said Sept. 29 that, as part of yet another project to rip of South Pattaya’s streets to lay more drainage pipes, new sidewalks would be built along South Road and Beach Road.

The South Road sidewalk has for decades forced throngs of tourists into a narrow passage bordered on one side by a steel railing and the other by a shophouse. It’s too narrow for two-way traffic, so those headed into Walking Street must wait for those leaving, and vice versa.

On Beach Road, there hasn’t been a sidewalk ever since pumps became permanent residents of the “old pier” site. It’s been a construction zone walled off with concrete traffic barriers for years.

A future plan might be to lay pipes and widen the sidewalk at the Walking Street entrance.

At the Pattaya Beer Garden, a broken brick sidewalk reappears, posing an obstacle course for drink-weary party people to run outside the beer bars once located there. (The bars are now gone and the building gutted.)

Pattana said both walkways would be widened, but, to do so, cooperation will be needed from property owners along the sidewalks. They’re going to have to give up some land, if possible.

The sidewalk rebuild, however, is only the superficial result of a much larger project. The deputy mayor said engineers are making plans to install yet another long, wide underground pipeline to carry storm runoff into the sea.

This one would begin at the intersection of Second and South roads, run under South Road, under the waterfront bars and into the sea. Again, “cooperation” from landowners will be needed, Pattana said.

Some businesses might need to give up part of their land for the project.

Why the drainage pipes weren’t laid while the Provincial Electricity Authority ripped up Walking Street to bury power lines was not addressed.

For those dreading South Road being ripped up yet again – the street was repaired after a year of destruction only recently – don’t worry. There’s no budget, no landowner approval and no timeline for the project.