Overview of the B34bn Project
The Express Authority of Thailand (Exat) has commenced public hearings for its ambitious plan to construct a 20-kilometer bridge that will connect the mainland to Koh Samui. Expected to start in 2028, this project aims to provide an overland transportation option to the popular island, which is currently accessible only through air and ferry links.
Public Hearings in Three Key Areas
Exat governor, Surachet Laophulsuk, has announced public hearings in three areas that are anticipated to be affected by the project. These locations include Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, and Koh Samui. The hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday respectively. The project is expected to connect Koh Samui with either Don Sak district in Surat Thani or Khanom district in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Focus of the Hearings
The public hearings will concentrate on evaluating the project’s suitability in terms of engineering, financial impact, and environmental consequences. By connecting the resort island to the mainland in Don Sak district, the bridge aims to offer a convenient overland transportation alternative and reduce the time necessary for attending to public health emergencies on Koh Samui.
Transfer of Project Ownership
In July, the Rural Roads Department handed over the project to Exat under the directive of the Transport Ministry. The shift in ownership was prompted by the need for a sector with greater access to technology resources and funding.
Project Costs and Timeline
The Koh Samui bridge project is estimated to cost around 33.9 billion baht, with 31.4 billion baht allocated to construction expenses and the remainder for land acquisition. An impact study is set to take 24 months, commencing from April 2023 and concluding in October 2025.
What Lies Ahead
As public hearings initiate and the proposed project advances through various stages of evaluation, the construction of the Koh Samui bridge promises to revolutionize travel to the island. The potential benefits in terms of transportation, tourism, and emergency response times make this an important development for the region.