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Thailand

Korat-Khon Kaen rail route revamp to cost B900m extra

The cabinet has endorsed the redesign of a part of a double-track railway route linking Nakhon Ratchasima with Khon Kaen, which will raise project costs by over 900 million baht.

Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn said the redesign involves a short section near Ban Phai station in Nakhon Ratchasima's Muang district, which will be elevated.

The revised design will raise construction costs by 896 million baht and coupled with additional consultant fees of 17.5 million, the overall project costs will increase by 913.5 million baht, he said.

Mr Pailin said an environment impact assessment (EIA) study on the revised section will be submitted to authorities concerned for approval and the Finance Ministry is expected to adjust loan funds to cover additional costs.

The redesign of the section is in response to demands from local people who petitioned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during a mobile cabinet meeting to make changes to the original design to avoid cutting through roads or causing traffic problems.

Officials were previously concerned about the cost and the need for a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) to be carried out.

Under the revised design, an elevated section will run for about 2km above the road.

Sucheep Suksawang, chief engineer of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), said construction of the dual track project between Chira and Khon Kaen is about half done.

After the EIA of the revised design is approved, construction of the section will begin and the SRT will extend the construction deadline for contractors if necessary.

The double-track rail project linking Nakhon Ratchasima with Khon Kaen has been approved by the cabinet with a budget of 25.387 billion baht.

The SRT has awarded the construction contracts to CKCH Joint Venture.

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