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Bridge Dilemma Divides Korat Community

In a pivotal meeting convened on May 20, 2024, at the helm was Mr. Sorapong Paitoonphong, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, presiding over discussions involving pertinent agencies. Joined via electronic means was Mr. Kittisak Theerawatthana, Deputy Governor of Nakhon Ratchasima Province, alongside the Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Land Traffic System Management Subcommittee (A.J.N.M.). The focal point of the session revolved around the construction plans for high-speed trains and double-track trains, particularly addressing concerns regarding the Map Kabao – Chira Road Junction.

Following a resolution from the meeting, identified as Resolution No. 1/2024, it was agreed to grant the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) permission to proceed with plans aligned with the consensus reached by the people of Korat in late 2019. Originally designed as a double-track railway traversing the city at ground level, adjustments were proposed to minimize the anticipated impact on future lifestyles. Central to the deliberations were guidelines necessitating the abutment and demolition of the Sima Thani Bridge, including the section traversing the 2nd Army Region’s Suranaree Camp, facilitating the passage of large vehicles with a height exceeding 5 meters.

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) representative elucidated on various aspects, encompassing civil engineering and traffic considerations, economic and investment implications, and environmental factors. The comprehensive evaluation yielded compelling insights favoring the retention of the bridge, citing a multitude of reasons spanning from engineering feasibility to community impact. However, this stance contradicted the aspirations of the Korat populace, advocating for the demolition of the bridge to foster the city’s future prosperity, albeit acknowledging the accompanying challenges during the construction phase. The ensuing impasse jeopardized the advancement of rail transport development, particularly along the Northeastern train route, exacerbating congestion issues and safety concerns. Against this backdrop, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport underscored the urgency of resolving the contentious issues before the imminent cabinet meeting.

Subsequently, on May 21, 2024, reporters shed light on the plight of residents residing beneath the Simathani Bridge, specifically in the Amphawan Phatthana community within Nakhon Ratchasima Municipality District. Mr. Udom Soisaengphan, 59 years old, along with fellow community members, beseeched the intervention of Mr. Chat Suphattrawanit, MP for District 1, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Progressive Party (KKK), to advocate for their cause. Having endured the repercussions of the bridge’s presence for over four decades, their grievances encompassed economic stagnation and environmental concerns. Mr. Udom’s impassioned plea resonated with the broader narrative of residents seeking redressal and urging authorities to prioritize their well-being. In response, Mr. Chat Suphattrawanit emphasized the imperative of expedited communication channels to address the Korat community’s needs effectively, cautioning against protracted delays in infrastructure projects that could exacerbate social tensions. His appeal underscored the need for governmental responsiveness aligned with the consensus of local constituents, thereby averting potential discord and fostering inclusive development initiatives reflective of community aspirations.

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