The long awaited ‘Pattaya Tunnel’ that has been around 6 years in the planning has finally begun construction bringing with it the chaos that I think everyone will have expected. The project is expected to last for 800 days, which if it is like anything else in Thailand, will be considerably longer.
There had been lots of speculation about where the tunnel would actually be constructed although I think that everyone knew that it would be for 1.9km in Central Pattaya. Initially there was discussion that both the existing carriageways but be ripped up but it know seems that common sense (thankfully) has taken over and they will just be ripping up the central reservation area.
As with all things in Thailand the disruption that has been caused has affected most areas of the city – when probably this wasn’t necessary! Understandably, the top of Pattaya Klang (Central Pattaya Road) has been closed but the consequences are being felt on North Pattaya Road – particularly around the bus station where buses can’t turn in, and in East Pattaya. I will discuss the problems in East Pattaya in a moment but the problem with North Pattaya Road are felt in other areas of the city with this now being one of the main routes into Central Pattaya from Sukhumvit Road if you are travelling from the north. The fact that the bus station is blocked off is inconvenient for those commuters but probably a good idea all round but the fact that the road still has problems with double parking means that the congestion is more severe than usual at busy times.
East Pattaya, well this appears to be anyone guess about what the road network will be like. Some of the roads are one way, although it would appear not all the time and not necessarily the same way every day (a slight exaggeration but you get the picture!). These problems are typically made worse when the police become involved rather than letting the traffic flow naturally. I was in East Pattaya earlier this week and traffic was flowing freely in both directions although I was assured that this would only be short lived with road marking clearly showing that there is an intention for the road to be one way. How this pans out, we will have to wait and see but I think most of other expect that it will take considerably longer than the 800 talked about.
If you are travelling out and about in Pattaya and feel that getting about maybe troublesome – why not hire a motorbike from Pattaya Rent a Bike located on the Pratamnak Hill?