Sukhumvit tunnel construction begins Nov. 15

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After nearly six years of debate, criticism and skepticism and doubt, construction might actually begin Nov. 15 on a traffic-bypass tunnel under Sukhumvit Road.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh met Oct. 16 with engineers, regional electrical and waterworks authorities, police and utility companies to begin implementing the many detours and changes that will be needed to rip up 1.9 kilometers of Sukhumvit Road over the next three years.

An artist’s rendering of what the tunnels entrances will look like.An artist’s rendering of what the tunnels entrances will look like.

Officials discussed possible detours, including using the area currently used on Sukhumvit Road as a median, as another traffic lane during construction.

The Central-Sukhumvit junction bypass – which calls for four subterranean lanes to be built under the busy intersection to separate through and downtown Pattaya-bound traffic – features a roofed roadway, 1,900 meters long, running from Pornprapanimit Road, under Sukhumvit and ending on Central Road. A large swatch of Sukhumvit also will be torn up to accommodate the changes.

Only 420 meters of the roadway would be covered. The 20-meter-wide roadway will have air ventilators, drainage, security cameras and a fire extinguisher system. There will also be a U-turn constructed in the middle of the tunnel, along with an above ground island adorned with dolphin sculptures.

Construction of the Sukhumvit tunnel will affect 1.9 kilometers of busy roadway in Central Pattaya and will last nearly 3 years.Construction of the Sukhumvit tunnel will affect 1.9 kilometers of busy roadway in Central Pattaya and will last nearly 3 years.

Additional bypasses are planned under Sukhumvit Road intersections with North, Central, South and Thepprasit roads. Planning has already begun on all sections, which each measuring 1,000-2,000 meters long. Construction on the Thepprasit tunnel also will begin during the next three years.