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Hua Hin
Thursday, July 25, 2024

Bangkok-Provincial Connectivity Boosted by 102.6 Billion Baht Highway Plan

BANGKOK – The Department of Highways (DOH) is embarking on an ambitious plan to revamp transportation infrastructure and forge better connections between Bangkok and neighboring provinces. The aim is to combat traffic congestion and reduce travel times, and to achieve this goal, the DOH is seeking Cabinet approval for three transformative highway projects with a staggering combined cost of 102.6 billion baht.

According to DOH Deputy Director-General Piyapong Jiwattanakulpaisarn, the department is steadfastly driving forward with three pivotal projects. The first among these is the M9 motorway project, an estimated 56.03 billion baht venture set to stretch from Bang Khun Tian to Bang Bua Thong. Following closely is the M9 motorway connecting Bang Bua Thong to Bang Pa-in, carrying an estimated cost of 15.2 billion baht. The third significant undertaking involves extending the Uttaraphimuk elevated tollway (Don Mueang tollway) from Rangsit to Bang Pa-in, coming in at an approximate cost of 31.3 billion baht.

Revealing that the first project has already secured approval from the public-private partnership (PPP) board, Deputy Director-General Jiwattanakulpaisarn disclosed that the proposal is on its way to the Cabinet for the ultimate green light. Should Cabinet approval be obtained, the private sector will be invited to invest, likely between mid-2023 and the end of 2024. Anticipated to kick off in 2025, construction is expected to span three years, with these new motorways slated for operation by 2029.

In terms of funding for the second project, the deputy director-general explained that the DOH intends to seek a loan from the Cabinet, followed by intricate financing negotiations with the Public Debt Management Office. Construction for this segment is slated to commence in late 2025 and, much like the preceding projects, will require approximately three years for completion.

As for the extension of the Uttaraphimuk elevated tollway, Jiwattanakulpaisarn asserted that the project has been duly approved by the PPP board and will be proposed by the Department of Health to both the Transport Ministry and the Cabinet. The DOH plans to finance the civil construction through a 30-year concession agreement, with private entities overseeing the project’s execution.

The deputy director-general underscored that the Motorway Fund will play a vital role in covering system works and maintenance expenses, thereby ensuring the long-term viability and sustainability of these newly developed motorways. By undertaking these transformative ventures, the DOH is making a resolute commitment to augment transportation infrastructure and bolster connectivity, thus propelling the region’s continued growth and progress to new heights.

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