Friday, October 28, 2011

Transport minister: No need to cut up roads

Bangkok Post

It is not necessary to cut channels across any roads to improve the drainage of floodwater out to sea because none of the targeted roads block the flow of water, Transport Minister Sukampol Suwannathat said on Friday.

ACM Sukampol said this after flying by helicopter to examine from the air the area east of Bangkok, Bang Na - Trat highway and Khlong Bang Chalong, Khlong Chorakheyai, Khlong Sanamphli and Khlong Phra-rongchao.

The floodwater is to flow into these canals before being drained into Khlong Samrong and the sea.

The minister said none of the five roads a group of private engineers and water management experts had proposed be cut open to improve drainage were blocking the path of the floodwater. So, it is not necessary to dig them up, he said.

The group, led by Toyota Motor Thailand vice chairman Ninnart Chaithirapinyo, asked Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to consider a plan to dig channels across five major roads in eastern Bangkok to enable floodwater to flow quicker out to the sea.

The roads are Pracha Ruam Jai, Rat Uthit Road, Suwinthawong Road, Nimitr Mai Road and Ruam Phattana Road.

Prime Minister Yingluck said she was undecided about the group's proposal and had assigned Transport Minister Sukampol to conduct a survey of the area covering the five roads along with representatives of the Royal Irrigation and Highway departments before deciding whether to do as proposed.

The possible damage to the area and the people must be taken into consideration if the five roads were to be cut open, she said.

Ms Yingluck said a channel might be cut across one of the roads first as an experiment to see if the opening made could really help the floodwater flow away more rapidly. If not, it would be pointless to implement the proposal.

She admitted that the effort to drain water out toward the east and west of Bangkok had not been carried out at full capacity.

As for flooding in some parts of inner Bangkok, she said it is the responsibility of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to drain the water out as quickly as possible.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said he agreed with the government's Flood Relief Operations Centre's plan to dig channels across five main roads.

However, the plan should be carried out cautiously as it could affect people living near the five roads, he said.

MR Sukhumbhand said the water level of the Chao Phraya river was measured at 2.47 metres above mean sea level this morning.

He said after inspecting the water level from Phra Pinklao bridge to Siriraj Hospital that the Chao Phraya had risen to a new high.

The high tide level at the Thai Navy HQ on the Chao Phraya was predicted at 3.66m above mean sea level about 6pm on Friday; 3.78m at 9.09am on Saturday and 3.66m at 6.30pm; peaking at 3.77m at 10.21am on Sunday.
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