Kasetsart to host forum on expressway
Locals vow to fight proposed project; state agency says nothing finalisedKasetsart University will host a public forum tomorrow to discuss the issue of a six-lane expressway (Stage 3 N1) that will be eating into some parts of the campus, while people living in the area have vowed to fight against the project at every step of the way.
The forum, scheduled from 8.30am to noon at the Chakkapan Pensiri Building on campus, will discuss the impact this planned expressway would have on the university and nearby communities. Participants will also gather engineering data and related information to support their objections.
The Stage 3 N1 expressway will be 19.2 kilometres long and part of the Laem Chabang Port-Bangkok-Dawei deep-sea port highway system. Up to Bt100 billion is being spent on the N1-N3 project.
The immediate impacts reported include dust and smoke affecting nearby communities and schools, a greater risk of accidents and the expressway blocking the view and light.
Meanwhile, Chavalit Wattanakul, the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat)'s deputy governor for construction and maintenance, told the Nation Channel yesterday that no meeting of a joint committee to resolve the dispute has been scheduled yet. This is because the Transport Ministry's permanent secretary has just replaced the authority's governor as committee chief, he explained.
Also, no decision has been made or reported to the Transport Ministry yet because the environment impact assessment for the project is still being conducted. Meanwhile, he said, the ministry also had other projects in hand to consider and this might take time because it has limited resources, he said.
Chavalit explained that since the Ngam Wong Wan Road had a major waterworks pipeline running underneath it, they could not build expressway support pillars on the road and hence would need to encroach upon the campus land. Also, it would be difficult to put up support pillars at the three-way junction outside the university because a tunnel runs under it, he added.
Should the university reject the plan, Exat would consider moving the support pillars to the centre of Ngam Wong Wan Road, hence cutting down the chance of intrusion into the campus, he said.
Previously, Deputy Transport Minister General Prin Suvanadat, in his capacity as Exat chief, said the authority had to discuss the issue with officials at the university. He said Exat has adjusted the design of the planned expressway by adding another access road to the campus to help avoid traffic jams.