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Highways Department eyes 11 commercial-cum rest areas on two new motorways

The Highways Department is to lease out 11 land plots along both sides of the Bang Pa-in-Korat and Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi motorways to the private sector to be developed into commercial-cum rest areas.

Transport permanent secretary Chartchai Thipsunavee said on Friday that the Highways Department had completed a feasibility study of commercial development of land plots along the two motorways as a means to gain additional revenues.

According to the study, the private sector will build with its own investment and manage the project while the state will receive revenues from the private sector in the form of concession fees or profit sharing throughout the concession period ranging from 15 to 20 years.

However, Mr Chartchai said the Highways Department would have to listen to feedbacks from the private sector about its feasibility study and to determine whether any terms or conditions will need to be adjusted to suit the demand of the private sector.

He expected to wrap up the project and have it submitted to Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisit for consideration end of this year before it is to be tabled to the PPP committee for finalization. Bidding is expected to be held next year.

Construction of the commercial-cum-rest areas is expected to be completed in two years which will coincide with the completion of the two motorways.

Highways Department deputy director-general Anond Luangboriboon, meanwhile, he preferred fixed rate returns for the state from the private sector with extra fees depending on traffic frequency.

However, he said the issue remains inconclusive as the department will have to hear feedbacks from the private sector first.

The Highways Department has envisaged the construction of 11 commercial-cum- rest areas along the two motorways � eight on the Bang Pa-in-Korat route and 3 on the Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi route. Total construction was estimated at 2,080 million baht.

The department expects to earn 460 million baht in revenues annually from the project on the Bang Pa-in-Korat route and another 460 million baht from the other route.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)