Pattaya officials were optimistic that the proposed building of a tunnel at the intersection of Central and Sukhumvit roads would be given approval by November 2011. The Department of Rural Roads Office 3 representative, Arun Sangchai, spoke at the public hearing held to discuss the Sukhumvit bypass on 1 August 2011. He said that there was every possibility that if the project was approved, the most probable start date would be early November. It is likely to take around two years to complete.
The planning behind the building of the Central-Sukhumvit bypass is to keep downtown Pattaya-bound traffic and traffic passing through apart. It is to be built under the intersection and would have four subterranean lanes to keep the traffic moving along smoothly.
The city council is hoping that this will be the first of four bypasses they would like to construct. If planning permission is given, the other three bypasses will be built at the Sukhumvit terminus of North, South and Thepprasit roads.
There has long been a problem with traffic congestion in this area and for a number of years the local community have been asking the council to find a solution. It is not the only area affected by this problem as there are three more, so the council decided that a plan had to be drawn up to solve it.
They started by hiring a team of consultants from King Monkuts University of Technology. After a lengthy period of considering all of four intersections, they came to the conclusion that the most congested was Central Road and that the first bypass should be constructed there.
There is a feasibility study currently taking place and before a proposal can be submitted to the cabinet for funding, surveys need to be carried out to determine what the environmental impact will be. A council spokesman said that they were confident that planning permission will be given as they had put forward the points that Pattaya was one of the favourite destinations for tourists and also that being so close to Laem Chabang Port will improve logistics.
The public at the hearing were given some statistics regarding the bypass. The road will be 975 metres long and 18 metres wide. It will start at Central Road and end at Soi Pornprapanimit and will have two U-turn points.
The surrounding area is to be given a facelift with flowers and sculptures to keep it beautiful. When asked how they intend to deal with potential flooding problems, there were no answers readily available. It is the wish of everyone involved that when the next public meeting is called that they will have approval to begin construction and will also be able to answer all the questions that the local community may put to them.