Halted during last month’s heavy storms, construction of the Sukhumvit-Central roads bypass tunnel is about 15 percent complete, with excavation of the underpass underway.
After months of site preparation, digging of the actual tunnel has begun in front of the King Power duty-free mall on Sukhumvit Road. It eventually will run 1.9 kilometers to near the Father Ray Foundation.
A look into the other side of the fence – the central Pattaya tunnel is said to be about 15% complete.
The will be four lanes in the tunnel – two running each way – each direction 20 meters wide. The entrance to each underpass will rise three meters, to keep rain and flood water out, and drop to a maximum five meters below the current street level.
Despite the scale of the project, only about 20 laborers were on site Oct. 14, as most the work currently is being done by heavy machinery that requires only one person to run. The scene is littered with excavators, trucks, huge hammers and tractors.
Workers said their biggest challenge to date has been the weather. The entire tunnel area flooded during tropical depression Vamco and work was halted during subsequent storms as some of the machinery can’t operate in the rain and floods.
The three-year schedule for the project, however, takes into consideration rainy season delays and workers remain on site doing some work during downpours.
Numerous water pumps are deployed at the site to get the trucks and tractors moving again as soon as possible.
Traffic continues to be a nightmare, with small streets connecting to the railway-parallel road unable to handle all of Sukhumvit’s vehicles. Rather than detour, some drivers simply tough out the congestion.
Traffic police are on site throughout the day to keep the cars moving as much as possible.