Highways officials opened two lanes northbound through the long-awaited Samkong Underpass today (Apr 10) to alleviate traffic at the busy site until after the Thai New Year Songkran holidays are over, The Phuket News reported.
“Lights and temporary water pumps have already installed in the tunnel and the northbound lanes in the tunnel are open for the public to use while workers finish the southbound lanes,” explained Samak Lueduanghad, Director of the Highways Department Phuket office.
Northbound traffic can still use the above ground road to pass through the intersection, he added.
Motorcycles, for the time being, are allowed through the underpass as a temporary measure in order to reduce the usual heavy traffic at the site, Mr Samak said.
“We are not going to close the bypass road from Soi Bangyai (next to Index Shopping Mall) to Sam Kong Intersection (at Phra Phuket KaewRd) just yet,” Mr Samak said.
“Vehicles can pass along this section of road as normal during Songkran (April 13-15). Many people travel on the roads during this holiday period and we don't want to cause any more inconvenience, so we will wait until after the holidays before we close this section of road to continue the construction,” he explained.
“However, this section of the bypass road will be closed after April 15 so workers can resurface the road,” Mr Samak warned.
After April 15, to access areas along or immediately west of the closed section of the bypass road motorists will need to detour via Kathu, he said.