The intersection of Phetchakasim Road and Narathip Road at the traffic lights in the centre of Cha-Am has long been a source of discontent for commuters travelling through Cha-Am in either direction.
To add to the usual delays, the intersection is often blocked with right hand turns forbidden during busy weekends or other holidays much to the chagrin of locals trying to cross between the beach side of town and inland commercial areas.
Since early last month lasting until mid-March next year, that issue will become much more problematic. Concrete barrier have now been installed to limit traffic to a single lane and the intersection completely blocked to right hand turns or crossing traffic during this prolonged period. Nearby access roads and U turn points are also blocked, forcing traffic to meander around the area to reach their destination. Traffic police have been valiantly trying to manage the traffic flow however periods of high traffic, holdups seem inevitable. The Highway Department has advised this is to facilitate a road resurfacing and flood water drainage project rather than for any more imaginative changes to the intersection.
The work has a budget of 25 million THB and due to be completed by 15th March 2109. Locals have long been suggesting the need either for a tunnel or an overpass for through traffic to make the transit. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was recently reported to want more tunnels and flyovers be built to ease traffic congestions in Bangkok; but that but locally that remains just a pipedream. As one Cha-Am resident of the inland side of the intersection said “I have to take a U-turn under the flyover in order to go to work every day for three months!! So sad.”
Another resident commented “2 months of chaos at least.” And finally: “we wouldn’t mind all the inconvenience if there was a long term solution in sight; why isn’t there any plan to permanently fix the problem?” For travellers from Hua Hin driving north towards Bangkok, it may be worth heading for the bypass road before reaching Cha-Am. To reach the Cha-Am beach turn towards the coast at the Cha-Am Forest Park.