The long awaited 17.7 billion baht highway extension from Pattaya to Map Ta Phut finally opened yesterday after being under construction since 2016 and will be free to travel for three months, says Thai Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.
The highway is part of an overall Eastern Economic Corridor project that is designed to better facilitate traffic and transportation throughout the Eastern part of Thailand with Chonburi province as a major centerpiece of the project. This particular project will greatly decrease the time needed to travel between Pattaya and the Rayong and Ban Chang area.
Drivers will eventually be able to enter the tollway through three different entrances which are: Huai Yai, which is linked with Sukhumvit Road in Pattaya; Chi On in the Sattahip district of Chon Buri; and U-Tapao, which is connected with another section of Sukhumvit Road in Ban Chang district. Only the latter entrance is available during the trial phase of the project.
When the road opens to commercial usage tolls are estimated to cost between 25 to 305 baht according to the Thailand Department of Transportation.
The first day of opening was Friday, May 22, and overall feedback was positive, although some noted that sections of the highway still appeared rough and unfinished. This is expected to be resolved before the “Grand Opening” in three months and the Department of Transportation has stressed the free trial is a “soft opening” and that final touches may still be applied.