Mr Arkom delivered the news at the official dedication ceremony for the bridge yesterday (April 6), in the presence of Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada, Department of Rural Roads Director Pisak Jitwiriyawasin, Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana and a host of other officials, business operators, residents and students.
“The bridge will help ease traffic congestion leading to town, especially at the junction of Chao Fa and Bangkok roads. People can use this route connect to the main destination spots on the island,” Mr Arkom said.
“And in the future the Transport Ministry will have our light-rail project running across Thepsrisin bridge.”
Construction of Thepsrisin Bridge, which comprises two spans that traverse protected mangroves and the Klong Koh Phee canal in Wichit, began in 2013, explained Rural Roads Chief Mr Pisak.
“The bridge connects Sakdidet Rd in Wichit to Rattanakosin 200 Pi Rd Phuket Town. The total cost for the project was about B176.3 million,” he said.
Plans for the bridge were initially proposed more than 20 years ago, but as the spans cross protected mangroves, the project needed specific approval from the Cabinet to go ahead.
The bridge was finally completed earlier this year and opened to traffic last month.
Mr Arkom added, “This project is one of many on the island that will help bring Phuket tourism to international level. The island receives about 12 million people each year.
“Besides the underpass projects, Phuket is looking forward to the light-rail transit system that will connect Phuket International Airport to Phuket Town and Chalong, and link Tha Khanun in Phang Nga to Phuket.
“Another promising project is the Patong tunnel, which the Expressway Authority of Thailand is taking care of. However, all these are the projects still need more preliminary studies before they can move forward,” he added.