The Central Road bypass tunnel will open for business from April 9-17, then close again.
Contractors had promised that the Sukhumvit Road tunnel, first scheduled to open in February, would finally start operation in time for Songkran to relieve the heaviest traffic congestion of the year. It will open, but not for long.
Chief engineer Thitiwat Anuruttikul said the tunnel will open only from April 9-17 to handle the Songkran traffic and give the 900-million-baht project its first real test. (It was open for several hours in December due to a traffic issue.)
The tunnel then will be closed again with a grand opening expected in May. The exact date will depend on details of a planned wheelchair-accessible pedestrian overpass near the tunnel.
Thitiwat said the huge project, which has been going on for two years, is reaching the final stages. Already two lanes on Sukhumvit Road have been reopened to traffic and workers are now working on leveling the road surface. Two more lanes will be reopened by the end of March, he said.
Construction will be suspended from April 5-20 to mitigate traffic, but that means another lane planned to be reopened now will stay closed until after April 20.
The foreman assured drivers that the tunnel will be safe to use during Songkran, as both ventilation and emergency-response systems are operational. A safety test was scheduled for April 1.