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Koreans push for Phuket LRT

August 11, 2011

The boss of South Korean engineering consultancy Dohwa Engineering returned to Phuket yesterday to reemphasise the company’s interest in building the island’s proposed Light Rail Transit system (LRT).

Sung-Min Lee, a president of the company, met Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha to present to him an analysis of how an LRT system could be built on the island.

According to its website, Dohwa has been heavily involved in the development of a variety of rail systems in Korea and other countries. It was also involved in the master plan for Korea’s National Railroad Network for the 21st century.

Although other mass-transit options that were presented included modern trams, articulated buses and small bus networks, much of the focus of the presentation was on developing a light-rail service for Phuket.

“We have been inspecting Phuket’s public transportation for two days. So far we have seen that Phuket has transportation problems and we have seen a lot of traffic jams,” said Mr Lee.

He highlighted that the first stage of the proposed light-rail service to be rolled out would link the airport with Phuket Town, which he dubbed the “Phuket Airport Rail Link”.

The company has selected seven LRT routes for Phuket, with priority being given to the route from Phuket International Airport to Chalong Circle, budgeted at around B10 billion.

“We would also like to look at doing a new route from Patong to Phuket Town,” Mr Lee said. “We’ve been thinking about a combination of LRT above ground and underground for high-density areas such as Patong.”

Gov Tri told The Phuket News after the meeting that Dohwa claims it already has firm funding commitments to cover the B10 billion required for the priority route, so that Phuket would not have to come up with the money.

“Dohwa seem to be the most serious of the companies that have expressed an interest in building the Phuket LRT system,” Gov Tri said. Dohwa has invited the governor and other official to visit LRT projects thje company has completed in other countries.

The Phuket government is expected to call for bids next month. Ten companies have expressed interest.

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