Tunnel proposed to ease future Bangkok floods

5 Dec 2011

A leading tunnel engineer says a 100km long relief tunnel is the answer to Bangkok’s flooding problems. Suchatchawi Suwannasawat, who heads up the Thai Engineering Institute’s Underground and Tunnelling Department, said a 10m high tunnel from Ayutthaya down to Samut Prakan would divert deluges away from Bangkok.

The proposed tunnel would cost an estimated 200 billion Baht to build and has already won the approval of Teerachon Manomaiphibul, the deputy boss of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. He said that a super tunnel was the ideal solution to monsoon rain run-off which threatens to inundate the Thai capital every August and September.

Worse than usual rains this year saw northern and western districts of Bangkok flooded to depths of over one metre. The waters still remain in some districts of the city. Don Muang Airport, Bangkok’s second air gateway, will remain closed until at least the New Year after its runway was swamped by flood waters and water also seeped into the lower levels of its terminals. 

Super tunnel supporters say the government should back the project as more conventional flood drainage methods have failed. Canals have been blocked by illegal structures and draining water often floods residential districts, which in turn causes strife among inhabitants.  

Engineer Suchatchawi says the tunnel could be built adjacent to the ring road from Bang Pa In to Samut Prakan, from where excess water would drain into the Gulf of Thailand.

He says his plan calls for a two-tier tunnel with the upper level functioning as a six-lane motorway and the lower as a drainage channel. In times of severe flooding, the upper level could be put into use as an emergency drain and this would double the water capacity of the tunnel. 

Tags: Tunnel Bangkok floods

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