The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) eyes significant movement on three flagship mass-transit infrastructure projects in Bangkok and Phuket, with a projected investment of a whopping 220 billion baht, according to governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas. These are hinged on the Orange and Brown transit lines in Bangkok and a substantial mass-transit project in the captivating island province of Phuket.
Diving into the specifics, the Orange Line serves as a critical nexus between the scenic Bang Khun Non region in Bangkok Noi district – located on the verdant western banks of the serpentine Chao Phraya River – and the vibrant Min Buri district in the eastern part of the sprawling city. As of now, the eastern portion stretching 22.57 kilometers from the iconic Thailand Cultural Centre station to Min Buri is near completion, although work remains stalled on the 13.4 kilometers western extension connecting the Cultural Centre station to Bang Khun Non.
The transition to full operational status for the Orange Line’s western extension has encountered several bumps over disagreements emerging from the competitive bidding process, a situation that Pakapong confirms, with the tentative cost pegged at approximately 140 billion baht.
Next in line for approval is the ingenious Brown Line electric monorail that proposes a 22.1km connection between Khae Rai in Nonthaburi and Lam Sali in Bangkok, based on an investment pegged at 49 billion baht. Confirming that a feasibility analysis, bidding conditions, and a public-private partnerships analysis all have board approval, Pakapong revealed a consultative session is forthcoming with relevant agencies to weigh in before presenting it to the Transport Ministry.
In a collaborative effort with the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat), Pakapong shared the MRTA’s intended construction progress on a section passing above the flourishing Prasert Manukitch Road via an envisioned 7.2km expressway.
The third string in this ambitious trilogy is the future-forward Phuket Mass Transit project – a light rail network stretching 42km from Phuket International Airport to Ha Yaek Chalong intersection with a calculated cost of 33 billion baht. Notably, the mass transit blueprint is on pause as it awaits procedural guidance from the newly appointed Transport Minister.
Probing beyond Phuket, the MRTA harbors ambitious plans to inject a new lease of life into mass transit systems covering major urban landscapes including Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Phitsanulok. The feasibility studies for the projects in the former two cities have been wrapped up, while the latter is actively scouting for competent consulting firms, Pakapong added.