Author Topic: HIA requirement could delay highway project Bang Pa-In to Nakhon Ratchasima  (Read 943 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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HIA requirement could delay highway projects

The construction of a Bt53-billion motorway from Bang Pa-In to Nakhon Ratchasima may be delayed.
Highways Department director-general Veera Ruangsooksriwong yesterday said a health-impact assessment (HIA) might be needed for the project, in order to comply with Article 67 (2) of the Constitution.

He said an HIA for the entire 196 kilometres of the route could take a year or more to finish.

The department has already completed an environmental-impact assessment (EIA).

"Before, motorway construction needed only an EIA. However, Article 67 (2) stipulates an HIA. At this moment, with so many projects in Map Ta Phut suspended, we think it best to follow the rules strictly, but an HIA would delay the project by at least a year. We're considering appropriate options for financing construction," Veera said.

The project's EIA meets some HIA requirements, such as determining the level of noise pollution communities along the route would suffer.

A noise-capture wall is planned to reduce the impact. However, a full HIA may require extra walls in some areas, which Veera said would raise the cost of the project.

"Road construction usually makes a negative health impact only during the period of construction, but we'll conduct HIAs for all motorway projects," he said.

Veera said if the project was delayed, the department would focus on road expansion.

At present, the combined length nationwide of two-lane roads that need to be expanded to four lanes is 2,000 kilometres. The estimated cost of this project is Bt50 billion, which works out to Bt25 million per kilometre.

The Nation