In June 2020, Thailand’s Transport Ministry announced a master plan to construct eight new motorways, with a combined length of 4,930 kilometers, that will run parallel with rail routes, to improve transport links and terrestrial trade with neighboring countries.
The motorways are grouped into north-south and east-west clusters. The first will comprise three routes, the longest of which is a 1,660 km link between Chaing Rai, near Myanmar, and Songkhla near Malaysia. The second and third connect Laos to the Eastern Corridor, with a 490 km highway from Nong Khai to the port of Laem Chabang and a 470 km link from Bung Kan to Surin.
The Ministry declared that a detailed action plan for implementation and design for the new motorways is expected within one year, while construction of three minor sections of these eight roads are expected to begin as soon as 2022 and 2023. Regarding financing, the government has announced that it was considering the public-private partnership (PPP) model, or funding the project through the state-backed infrastructure fund, Thailand Future Fund. Due to the substantial amount of funding that will be required, the Transport Ministry has a preference for the PPP investment format, which should generate opportunities for foreign specialized companies.
In addition to the construction of motorways, the government announced its plan to launch real estate and commercial development projects to create new cities along the new routes. This large scale infrastructure plan comes as intra-regional trade has been booming and countries in the region have increased their infrastructure spending.
(Sources: Bankgok Post, Global Construct Review)