Thailand to start building $4.1 billion worth of roads in 2020

Get your motors running. Thailand will begin work on seven major highway projects this year worth over $4.1 billion investment as the country forges ahead with its massive infrastructure upgrade.

Sarawut Songsivilai, Head of the Department of Highways, Ministry of Transport, said design work is already complete on five of the seven projects. The government will put up those five for bidding and expects contracts to be signed by May this year.

New and upgraded highways are a crucial component of the national infrastructure redevelopment Thailand is undertaking to boost the country’s competitiveness for decades to come. Building roads, however, generally garners less media attention than projects such as international airports and high-speed rail lines, which Thailand is also undertaking.

Roads are especially important in linking Thailand with neighboring countries and improving in-country transport and logistics. Thailand is also investing significant sums to support new and improved roads in its neighbors, such as Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

A comprehensive network of modern highways would boost trade and ignite economic growth across all of mainland Southeast Asia.

The projects include a bypass for northeastern Nong Khai province to ease congestion and smooth traffic flow to Laos, a joint project to with Laos to build the fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Bung Kan province. Also, in the northeast, an outer ring road will be built in Nakhon Ratchasima province, one of the most populated areas in that corner of the country.

On Thailand’s southern isthmus, a new highway will link Phangnga province on the west coast with Surat Thani province on the east coast.

A new highway will also link U-Tapao international airport with the rest of the three-province Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the country’s advanced development zone.

The cabinet is expected to approve a public-private partnership investment plan for two more highway projects, one on the outskirts of Bangkok and another linking Nakhon Pathom and Petchaburi provinces.

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