Runoff from the hills at the back of Patong often carried sand that ended up in the previous small drains, Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup explained.
“We had to use a truck to suck the sand out of the drains immediately after each time the rain stopped, and every time we did this it caused huge traffic delays along the road,” she said.
“I am very sure these new drains will solve the flood and sand-runoff problems in the long term, making it much more comfortable for people,” Mayor Chalermluk added.
The new drains are two metres deep and extend for 300 metres along the road in two sections, with a third “spot drain” to catch any floodwaters that run across the middle of the intersection of Nanai Rd and Soi Banzaan.
The steel grates covering the drains are five centimetres thick to support the weight of heavy vehicles passing through, and have had the added effect of preventing motorbikes from being parked well out onto in from the SuperCheap convenience store nearby.
An officer from Patong Municipality’s Public Works Division, who asked not to be named, confirmed that the project is behind schedule and that a late-completion penalty of B50,000 per day will be incurred.
“The contract for the project started on Mar 3 and will conclude on Nov 8. The budget for the project is B19,915,000,” he said.
“The project is 85% complete as traffic density in the area caused delays during the construction, especially in the rainy season, when sometimes work had to stop entirely.
“We are hurrying to make everything, including the resurfacing of the road, to be finished by December, or at the latest to be done in January. Please be patient,” the officer said, without naming the contractor.
One of local resident praised the project, saying it will bring much relief to local residents.
“Even though this project is taking a long time and has caused a lot of traffic jams, it’s worth it,” the resident, who also asked not to be named, explained.
“In the past we had a lot of trouble using the road when it was raining. Lots of sand covered the road and motorbike drivers had to be very careful – and tourists who are not used to the road always have motorbike accidents here.
“We are being very patient with the construction. We have had more traffic jams while the construction has been going on, but I am willing to face this for a better life in the future,” the resident added.