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Thailand to launch four LRT projects in 2018

Work on over 150km of new lines is to begin as part of ‘Thailand 4.0’.

The Thai Government has announced that light rail projects in four cities could begin construction in 2018, representing an investment of over THB100bn (EUR2.6bn).

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpitayapaisith said the projects are cornerstones of the Transport Ministry’s 2018 infrastructure plan, part of the wider ‘Thailand 4.0’ smart cities initiative to integrate digital technology, energy efficiency and sustainable transport. Public-Private Partnership (PPP)schemes are envisaged to be applied for the four projects.

Mr Termpitayapaisith said the most advanced is the 60km (37-mile) regional network for Phuket (population 392 000), for which feasibility studies and design work have been completed. With an estimated cost of THB24bn (EUR619m), this 23-stop route would link Tha Nun in Phangnga province to Phuket airport and Phuket airport to the inner city. Financing options are currently under investigation with construction tendering expected in the second half of 2018. It is expected that this project will be included in the government’s PPP fast-track scheme.

The University of Chiang Mai has also completed studies for the largest city in northern Thailiand, developing two LRT options. The first covers a 35km (21.7-mile)
network of three routes (a 12km Red line, a 11km Green line and a 12km Blue line) with both at-grade and underground sections at a cost of THB107bn (EUR2.76bn). A second 40.6km (25.2-mile) plan (15.7km Red line, 11.1km Green line and 13.8km Blue line) featuring at-grade and elevated alignments is costed at THB28.9bn (EUR745m). Reviews of both proposals were expected in December.

In Khon Kaen, environmental impact assessments for a THB15bn (EUR387m) 22.6km (14-mile) line are being finalised. The plan for this city in the east of the country includes 18 stops between Tha Phra to Samran in Khon Kaen’s Muang district.

The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) has also completed design work for Nakhon Ratchasima’s light rail project, worth an estimated THB15bn. This plan is to be put before the national Transport Ministry for approval before the end of the year.

Feasibility studies are reportedly underway for projects in Phitsanulok and Udon Thani.