A plan to create a twelve lane expressway between Phuket International Airport and the Koh Kaew area has been confirmed by the provincial governor.

The plan as tabled by the Highways Department and reported by the Phuket News will start from close to the Thalang Technical College (near to Phuket International Airport) and end up in Koh Kaew by the new Bang Ku Underpass at the start of the Bypass Road.

Plans are underway and expected to complete by next April and a completion date forecasted for 2022. Looking at the new route, it will be to the West of the current Thepkasattri Road area and be in the same vicinity as the proposed light rail project that is under study.

Looking at the plan I have long been a strong advocate of the development of an expressway on the island from North to South given the urban push in Phuket. In analysis there is limited opportunity to keep expanding the current lifeline of the island Thepkasattri Road, hence the shift and larger scale is prudent for growth.

While the government had attempted in the past to create an underpass or underpass near to the existing traffic light North of Boat Lagoon, the move was met with stiff local opposition and has been suspended.

Taking a step back and looking at Phuket post 2022, the planned transportation links between North and South are falling into place with the exception of the Patong tunnel which has continued to fail to push forward from idea to reality. If the current conundrum fails to be resolved, Phuket’s largest tourism catchment area could potentially lose out due to an antiquated level of access.

While there remain naysayers of the current progress being made by the government on the island’s infrastructure, the reality is that both the new airport expansion and continued public work projects of underpasses and more transport links are strong positives for sustainable economic growth.