I’m sure this comes as no big surprise that the Pattaya tunnel which was supposed to open this month has been delayed. The excuse being offered is that there are too many holidays plus insufficient work space. (Whatever that means)
One on site foreman also backed up the claim the delay has been caused by all the government holidays. He also claimed that work crews have been put under pressure from the heavy traffic on Sukhumvit Rd. They are told to keep as many lanes open as possible to keep traffic flowing, the problem is this strategy leaves insufficient work space for the crew to operate effectively.
There have been huge traffic delays around this site in Pattaya for over two years and we are now told that the project is actually 92% finished but they have no idea when the final 8% will be completed.
It really makes you wonder how they come up with the 8% estimate, they must have some sort of a very cunning computer program to calculate with such accuracy.
The many phone calls by the press to the busy project manager Mr Chairoj Thammniramai have gone unanswered. I’m guessing he is re-checking the 8% figure to ensure it is accurate.
No one is really surprised that this 837 million Baht tunnel is running behind schedule, as it seems most projects of this size tend to not finish on time.
Having said all that there is some very good news, two weeks ago Pattaya was hit by a huge tropical storm which flooded many parts of the city. Now most people were under the impression a storm like this would actually flood the tunnel. How wrong can you be? There was no effect on the tunnel which remained perfectly dry. In fact during this deluge workers were inside the tunnel working feverishly on the interior electrical & drainage projects as well as painting. What a surprise this was to all the skeptics.
What made the job more complex according to the workers was the construction of an elevator equipped pedestrian bridge over busy Sukhumvit Rd close to the northern end of the tunnel.
Although this really had no direct impact on the tunnel itself the bridge is in fact being built by the same work crews involved with finishing the underground work. Even with these obstacles everyone is hoping the overpass will be completed by the end of summer, along with the remaining 8%.
Here is some late breaking news hot off the press;
The head of operations for the Central Road bypass tunnel project Mr Tithiwat Anuruthikul, said they are very hopeful that the tunnel may actually open for public use on Thursday April 13, let’s hope he means April 13 2017 not 2018. Plus I wonder if he realises this is right in the middle of the Songkran festival in Pattaya.
Apart from this rather small delay in finishing the project everyone is confident the tunnel when finished will make a huge positive impact on the movement of traffic on busy Sukhumvit Road.