‘Scrap it’: Res­i­dents op­pose bridge over Chao Phraya


Vil­lagers in Non­thaburi are protest­ing against a plan to build a new bridge across the Chao Phraya River near Sanam­bin Nam Road and threat­en­ing to bring the is­sue to the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Court if the gov­ern­ment pro­ceeds with the project.

The con­tro­ver­sial bridge, pro­posed by the Ru­ral Roads Depart­ment as a way to re­lieve traf­fic con­ges­tion, was yes­ter­day greeted with fierce op­po­si­tion by res­i­dents of Prachani­wet 3 com­mu­nity who ar­gued it would have a se­vere im­pact on their “small city”.

Prachani­wet 3 is not just a res­i­den­tial area. It also houses many schools and state agency of­fices. Big changes, in­clud­ing land ex­pro­pri­a­tion, will lead to prob­lems, res­i­dents’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive Phatthana Phanyothin told a pub­lic hear­ing yes­ter­day.

“We op­pose the project and want the depart­ment to scrap it,’’ he said.

Res­i­dents are pre­pared to file a law­suit with the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Court next month against the depart­ment and its con­sul­tancy firms for not work­ing in line with the reg­u­la­tions set by the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, Mr Phatthana said.

Lo­cals ac­cuse the au­thor­i­ties of not in­form­ing peo­ple of the project in de­tail, espe­cially those who live near the con­struc­tion sites. A source from one of the con­sul­tancy firms, who at­tended the pub­lic hear­ing, said the mount­ing op­po­si­tion may kill the project.

The bridge is planned as part of 10.1km road link­ing Wat Buakhan, a tem­ple on Ngam Wong Wan Road, and Sanam­bin Nam Road with Non­thaburi’s tam­bon Tha It and a sec­tion of Rachaphruek Road on the other side of the river.

The con­struc­tion sites also in­clude part of Prachani­wet 3, where up to 200 houses would have to re­lo­cated, the source said.

The Ru­ral Roads Depart­ment plans to hold an­other pub­lic hear­ing on Oct 8.

The depart­ment will take into ac­count res­i­dents’ opin­ions, the po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and whether the project is a worth­while in­vest­ment be­fore de­cid­ing on its fate, of­fi­cials said.

If it pro­ceeds the con­sul­tants will cal­cu­late the es­ti­mated cost, in­clud­ing how much the gov­ern­ment must pay to ex­pro­pri­ate the land.

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