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Transport Ministry issues stern warning to Rama II road contractors

Written by World Events

Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit has warned that contractors working on Rama II Road, who fail to meet their contractual deliverables within the specified deadlines, will be barred from bidding for new ministry projects or be downgraded.

The minister called a meeting with all the contractors today todiscuss their work on the road, which is one of the two main arteries from Bangkok to southern provinces, after there was widespread public criticism over reports that construction work is delayed and is expected to be completed in June next year, far behind schedule.

Suriya told the media today that he will be straight-forward with the contractors and seek their assurances that they will meet their contractual deadlines.

It has been claimed that traffic woes caused by the construction is discouraging tourists from visiting Hua Hin, resulting in a substantial reduction in hotel occupancy.

The seemingly endless construction on Rama II Road has been satirically renamed the “seven generation road”, implying it has been built and rebuilt for seven generations without ever being completed.

The minister said he will conduct an on-site inspection on Monday, to see with his own eyes the progress and care for public safety there.

Meanwhile, Move Forward MP Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat suggested today that the Transport Ministry review all construction contracts and identify any contractors who have failed to meet their deadlines or whose construction work issubstandard or otherwise not in accordance with the specifications.

Those who fall into this category should be replaced and their contracts revoked, he said.

He said that he has been an MP in the area since 2019 and is fully aware of the construction delays and the air pollution it causes affecting people living on both sides of the road.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has already instructed the Transport Ministry to resolve the construction problems as matter of urgency and to tighten up control of big projects.

Rama II Road, or Highway 35, is about 84km long and reaches from Bangkok, through Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram, to Ratchaburi. The road is under the jurisdiction of the Transport Ministry’s Highways Department.

Its initial construction began in 1970, during the government of Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn, and it was opened to traffic three years later. The road shortens the distance from Bangkok to southern provinces by about 40km, compared to travelling on Phet Kasem Road, the other artery to the South.

Initially, Rama II was a two-lane road, but the volume of traffic increased steadily, resulting in road subsidence and eventual road widening to 4 lanes and the construction of four flyovers, in Bang Khun Thian, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram and Wang Manao, between 1989 and 1994.

A second major road widening took place from 2001 to 2003, from four to eight lanes, then ten, for the 24km section from Bang Khun Thian flyover to Samut Sakhon industrial estate.

From 2018 to 2020, the road was further widened, to 14 lanes, from Bang Khun Thian flyover to the Ekkachai flyover.

Currently, three construction projects are under way on the road: the elevated road from Bang Khun Thian junction to Ekkachai; the elevated road from Ekkachai to Ban Phaeo and the Rama III- Dao Khanong western ring road project.

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