“In the modern world,Why Are Pattaya’s Roads So Bad? Articles roads are one of the most important parts of life and the betterment of the relationship between adjoining regions”, writes Gavin Perfect of Global Design & Build Co,. Ltd.
Being a local expat you would sometimes ask yourself when driving up Theppraya Road, “How long have they been working on this road for?” I estimate that road has been under construction now for around four years. One section of the road was partially completed in Jomtien over the Christmas holiday periods, being the area behind the Immigration office. I was amazed to see a TV report not so long ago showing cars and bike trying aimlessly to drive through 2 feet of water after a small rain shower.
Ask yourself the question, why does it take so long to complete a relatively easy road construction? Why is it that in just a few months the road is completely damaged again?
The answers to solve these problems are clear to see during the construction process. Like any road in the world the most important part of road construction is the sub foundations. These are the materials and base foundation that the road finishing is laid on. To make sure this sub – base is constructed correctly you require specific machinery that they simply do not use here in Thailand.
The procedure to comply to also isn’t implemented in Thailand road construction. When constructing a heavily trafficked road the first objective is to excavate to a good sub virgin (or compact) sub soil. Once complete the sub base should be installed in layers of a specified maximum depth along with special membrane materials, and compacted to a specified strength, which is then tested using a compaction gauge.
Before completing the sub base to finished height (ie the final layer) you would then install all underground services, being drainage, cable ducts (Thailand seems to not want these). Now this is where many of the problems arise here in Pattaya. Once any services are laid in place the void should be filled using a graded material and compacted to a specified target. This simply isn’t done here and hence once the rains come the underground voids fill and subsidence occurs, meaning the road surface becomes under mined which creates all the pot holes we see and the breakdown of the road finishing surfaces.
You will notice that many of the local roads are of two different types of surface, some being Tarmacadem (Tarmac) and others concrete. Both road surfaces hold their own advantages and disadvantages. In many cases the reason for installing one over the other potentially comes down to cost. My personal opinion for a country such as Thailand would be to use concrete. My reason for this is due to the climate, with tarmac decomposing quicker in high temperatures. Concrete roads are easier to repair, but in hand cost more in labour to install and take longer to install. Tarmac can handle traffic just hours after installation.
Another major problem is the drain locations. I’m still amazed that the Civil Engineers designing and constructing the local roads seem to think that water travels up hill. They place the drainage covers in the middle of the road as opposed to up against the kerb line and have the gradient of the road fall towards to drain covers. Many times when we see this is due to the road being widened after the original road had been constructed, but a simple solution is to create off set drainage at the road side kerb lines.
Many of these over looked solutions may come down to expense, but in the long run, and like in most situations, trying to cut corners in the beginning lead to higher expense in the long term. Road maintenance can be a huge expensive for any local council, so to save money the job should be done properly in the first place.
Most of the problems with drainage and flooding in Pattaya cannot be helped. A large section of the city ground levels are very close to the water table, or sea level, and most of the original infrastructure put in place when this was a quiet holiday town aren’t sufficient to cope with what the city is today. Being a beach front resort makes it very difficult to go back and change the infrastructure as most of the beachfront areas are al now built out and there is no room or scope to upgrade that infrastructure to cope with the water usage and waste this city produces nowadays. One way to remedy this problem, which the UK implement very well are inner city water treatment works, where all the local waste and surface water is stored and reproduced as drinking or sufficient tap water. This would also solve many of the city water shortage problems in the hot seasons. But that’s another issue to discuss at a later date.
So, where to go from here. I think the local City Hall should look into the way they constructed their roads here, and spend more time in planning. Overall the road construction, layout and infrastructure could be improved. I see many new ideas being implemented that aren’t fully thought out or incomplete in terms of road management systems, traffic light placement, etc….. Let’s hope that this high end beach resorts roads can take the expected increase in traffic that the local council expect over the coming years.