Motorway projects to be government-financed
The Transport Ministry received government approval in July for three motorways to be built over the next couple of years at a combined cost of around 160 billion baht.
The shortest of the three projects is a 32-kilometre stretch between Pattaya and the industrial centre of Map Ta Phut in Rayong province, expected to cost 20.2 billion baht.
A motorway from Kanchanaburi to Bang Yai district in Nonthaburi will extend for 96 kilometres and is projected to cost 55.6 billion baht, while the longest planned project extends for 196 kilometres from Bang Pa-In to Nakhon Ratchasima via Saraburi and will cost around 84.6 billion baht.
The government has announced that it will be the major investor for these projects since the figures show it will take time to recoup the investment involved. The three motorways are among the series of big-ticket infrastructure projects the government is looking to launch as a way of stimulating the overall economy over the next eight years. The government approved the eight-year plan in March and is expected to spend 1.91 trillion baht over that period.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha claimed the funds required for the three motorway projects would not impact the government’s future fiscal budget.
The Pattaya to Map Ta Phut project will cost 14.2 billion baht in construction costs and six billion baht for the expropriation of the land needed. The government expects this project will begin construction later this year and be completed by 2023. It will be financed by the fiscal budget of the Highways Department.
The Bang-Yai to Kanchanburi motorway has had 5.42 billion baht set aside for land appropriation while the construction cost is expected to be 50.2 billion baht. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has already been completed for this motorway and land expropriation started in 2013. The construction is expected to begin next year with completion scheduled for 2019. The new motorway will also provide a key link to the Dawei special economic zone in Myanmar and from there to Thailand’s major port at Laem Chabang.
The Bang Pa-In to Nakhon Ratchasima motorway will start construction in 2016 and is due to be completed within four years at a construction cost of 78 billion baht. Around 6.6 billion baht has been allocated for land expropriation. The EIA for this project was passed in 2006 and land expropriation started two years ago.
For these latter two projects the Transport Ministry plans to secure domestic loans for the construction.
The Highways Department has been tasked with taking full control of all the projects, including preparing the terms of reference for contractors’ bids.