Somkiet Yimpong of Phuket office of the Highways Department, and Project Manager of the Chalong Underpass, confirmed to The Phuket News today that the new lane across the circle opened yesterday (Nov 19).
The circle itself, a five-way roundabout, has been closed for months to prevent cave-ins while workers excavate the tunnel underneath the junction.
“We opened a lane for traffic on Wiset Rd to drive straight onto Chao Fa East Rd yesterday, which will help to reduce traffic inbound to Phuket Town during rush hour,” Mr Somkiet said.
“We were able to open that small section of road because the roof of the tunnel under that section of road is now complete,” he explained.
“Next month, we will fully re-open the lanes on Chao Fa West Rd in front of Home Pro after the roof of the tunnel at that section is finished,” Mr Somkiet added.
“This will help traffic to move through the area much quicker,” he said.
Mr Somkiet today said that only 150 metres of the tunnel remains to be excavated, highlighting marked progress since September, when 240m of the tunnel remained to be excavated. (See story here.)
“The excavation will be finished by the end of December and we will start to add the walls inside the tunnel. Then we can install the water pumps, lights and safety equipment into the tunnel,” Mr Somkiet said.
The project remains on schedule to be completed in April 2019, he added.