11 July 2024

Due to construction work, required to upgrade Rama II Road (Highway 35), which began in June and are expected to be completed by 2020, local residents along the route have to cope with worsening traffic congestion and air pollution.

A woman waiting at a bus stop said she is now having to wait over 30 minutes for a bus so she can get to the Social Security office, which is just 7 kilometres away. The bus was late due to heavy traffic around the construction site.

“This may be evening rush hour and raining, but I get really angry sometimes” she said, trying to figure out how much longer she would have to wait.

A college student said she is spending much more time on the road because of the traffic and the air is so polluted, though she says she has grown used to it.

Another woman said she had to change her travel routine during the construction, saying it is a sacrifice she had to make for a better travel alternative in the future.

“I allow two more hours on the bus to get to work at my office on Sukhumvit Road from my house on Rama II Road. Recently I rented a room in the city to save travel time. That’s the price we have to pay for a better future” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Piyaphong Jiwattanakulphisal of the Bureau of Planning, Department of Highways, said that the 11-kilometre Rama II Road upgrade project is using more technology to reduce the discomfort caused to the local residents and commuters.

The upgrade project involves improvement of the 11-kilometre stretch of Rama II Road starting from the point where it is connected with Bang Khun Thian – Ekkachai ramp, to widen it to four lanes both inbound and outbound, widening of adjacent frontage roads, laying a new drainage system and installing roadside lighting, along with Bang Nam Jued – Khok Khwai canal bridge expansion.

Earlier in July, a residents’ group called “Rama II Road Loving Residents” submitted a letter of complaint to the Prime Minister and transport minister.

Dr. Piroj Jiraboon, special lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, said that the worsening traffic situation can be prevented if workers at the site are properly trained. He suggested that the Department of Highways could have rented private space along the road to keep construction equipment off the main road, which would help ease the flow of traffic.

“If only agencies responsible thought a little more about the impacts of the construction on the communities, the suffering of the local residents would be reduced” he said, adding that the Rama II Road has gone through a series of upgrades in the past 30 years and people should not have to suffer anymore.

Mr. Saksayam Chidchob, Transport Minister, said last week that the construction works on Rama II Road will be completed by the end of 2020.