Present at the meeting were 45 members of related companies and offices, including PEA officials and representatives of communication companies such as AIS, DTAC, CAT, True, and 3BB.
The meeting discussed the cable works that have already been undertaken this year, including the de-tangling and removal of old cables totalling 19,500 metres.
“This year we have successfully tidied up 19,500 metres of electrical cables in the Patong, Kata and Karon. This has come from just working on a section each Saturday of the week,” said Mr Watcharin.
“Next year we are aiming for at least a further 20,000 metres to be complete, and we plan to not only tidy the cables but also to put most of them underground, including communication cables,” added Mr Watcharin.
“It is already looking a lot more tidy and beautiful, but it will be even better with no cables at all,” he said.
“We will start with three kilometres of Thaweewong Rd first, then move on to streets nearby, such as Bangla Rd, Sawatdirak Rd and Ruamchai Rd.”
After concerns voiced by representatives of communication companies regarding risks of simply burying the cables unprotected, Mayor Chalermluck offered to provide special pipes to hold the cables.
“Patong municipality will take responsibility to create pipes that the communications cables can be kept in underground. If you propose to me a size and how many pipes you want, with some spares for good measure, I will propose it to the committee this month and make a plan,” Mayor Charlermluck said.
Engineers present at the meeting suggested at least two four-inch pipes to hold cables for all of the communication companies.
“I will bring it up with the committee and we will draw up a new plan and issue a new contract including the construction of the four-inch pipes,” said Mayor Chalermluck.
“I must stress that we all have to work together. We cannot be doing parts of it separately and causing frustration with other departments in this project or ignoring one another. Please, let’s come together and work as a team,” she added.
Mr Watcharin also noted the ongoing project of re-organising existing cables in the meantime and removing excess cables.
“We will continue to organise existing cables along six routes in 2018, including the 2.4 kilometres on both sides along Sirirat Rd from the circle (at the southern end of Patong) to the Happy Elephant trekking camp. Then the 4.1km from Happy Elephant Trekking to Karon Circle on Patak Rd,” Mr Watcharin noted.
“Additionally, along Patak Rd from Karon Circle to the border of Chalong, which is 12.2km on both sides,” he added.
He noted plans to organize cables along nearby roads.
However the upcoming underground cable project for Patong, which already has an approved B224-million budget, is seeking a contractor and is expected to begin works in April next year.
“This construction must begin in April 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019,” said Mayor Chalermluck.
The meeting came quickly following the orders of Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong for the PEA to make progress on the project, after it silently stalled in May. (See story here.)
“The project to install the power cables underground in Patong has taken too long,” Governor Norraphat said at a meeting at his house at 7:30am on Tuesday (Dec 12).
“I want progress on this project. You have the budget to build it… You know I have asked about this many times, and so have many others,” he added.