Six months late, authorities say the 837-million-baht Central Road bypass tunnel will open to traffic Aug. 25.
Pattaya spokesman Pinit Maneerat and Engineering Department Director Suntorn Sompramai Aug. 2 announced the long-awaited grand opening date. An official media release from the Department of Rural Roads was expected later.
Pinit said Pattaya’s mayor recently spoke with both the department and the lead contractor on the Sukhumvit Road underpass and got the news that the Highways Department and other agencies had signed off on a letter that all testing was complete and the tunnel is ready to open.
He admitted there is a concern that, despite having nearly four years to prepare, the city still lacked trained employees to station at the tunnel area. So a Rural Roads Department team will be assigned to man the underpass for its opening.
The tunnel is 470 meters wide and 1.9 kilometers long and is Thailand’s longest underpass. Fully packed with technology, closed-circuit cameras are installed throughout to prevent crime, and to provide aid during emergencies. There are two smart CCTV cameras that will send an emergency signal if they detect any collisions. Security staff will be on standby around the clock.
The tunnel was supposed to open in February, but completion and testing of security, lighting and drainage systems took nearly six additional months.