he chief of the Phuket Highways Office has urged motorists to “drive carefully” while passing through the Chalong Underpass for the next two weeks until a contractor can be called in to prevent more concrete sheets from plunging off the walls into traffic.
The issue was brought to The Phuket News’ attention by an expat who was driving northbound through the tunnel at about 4:48pm yesterday when one of the concrete sheets fixed to the wall fell and shattered on the road right in front of his car.
The incident was recorded by the car’s dashcam.
Mr Somwang told The Phuket News that the concrete sheet that fell was “only” for soundproofing in the tunnel.
“Our officials drove past and also saw it yesterday evening. We found the sheet had fallen onto the road. We had the debris cleared. There were no injuries and no vehicles were damaged,” he said.
“I think the cause of the sound-absorbing sheets dropping may be from screws becoming rusty because of too much moisture inside the underpass,” he postulated.
The Phuket Highways Office must wait for the contractor, Civil Engineering Co Ltd, to fix make the repairs, Mr Somwang said.
Asked why the two-week wait, he replied, “It takes time to order the soundproof sheets.”
Mr Somwang assured that the tunnel is safe, for now.
“We have already checked the [concrete] sheets. We check the whole project every month,” he said.
This is also just one incident, and it does not have any effect on the main structure of the underpass,” he added.
Regardless, Mr Somwang urged motorists to exercise caution while driving through the tunnel.
“I can’t be sure when any more sheets will drop again. Please drive carefully and slow until the construction contractor came come and fix it in the next two weeks,” he said.
“If anyone sees any similar problems, please call the Phuket Highways Office directly at 063-6925308 immediately. We will get highways workers to the scene quickly to clear it,” Mr Somwang said.
The Phuket News
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