Transport Minister gives Koh Samui-Khanom Bridge thumbs up

The Transport Minister, Saksayam Chidchop, approved a project to construct the Koh Samui – Khanom Bridge connecting the island with the mainland of Nakhon Si Thammarat province.

The media reported yesterday that Saksayam gave the green light on five projects to develop and improve the motorways, rural roads, and expressways of Thailand. Koh Samui – Khanom Bridge is one of five projects in which the Transport Ministry, Highways Department, Rural Roads Department, and Expressway Authority of Thailand will work together to study, plan, and design the bridge.

The budget for five projects totals about 234 billion baht, and 25 billion of that amount is to be spent on the Koh Samui – Khanom Bridge. The bridge will be 17 kilometres long, connecting Phangka Beach in the southwest of Koh Samui in Surat Thani to the Khanom district of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

The bridge aims to solve the big queue problems at the ferry piers. Two days ago media reported that a Thai tourist had waited five hours for a ferry from Koh Samui to Khanom district during the long weekend of July 16.

The media added that some ferry companies have reduced their services. Ferries used to depart from the pier every hour but now there are only six ferries available per day due to the decreasing number of tourists and rising fuel prices.

The Koh Samui – Khanom Bridge was the idea of Virach Pongchababnapa, a local hotel owner on Koh Samui. He created a 3D model and proposed it to the Transport Ministry.

Locals and officials agreed that the bridge would benefit both Koh Samui locals and tourists. The transportation between Koh Samui and Surat Thani will be more convenient and faster. One official added that the province and country could also earn more income by introducing a toll.