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Downpour sparks traffic chaos

Jan 10. 2018
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MANY BANGKOK residents woke up yesterday to face widespread floodwaters and a traffic nightmare.

In the face of an unseasonal rainstorm, many districts of the capital were swamped. In Bang Na, motorists said they saw several vehicles broken down on heavily-flooded roads and it took them significantly longer than usual to travel from their homes to work. 

“I spent two times longer than usual on roads,” a bank employee said. 

Another company worker said she faced the worst of the situation as her commuting time in the morning increased threefold. 

“Usually, it takes me less than one hour to come to the office. Today, it took me three hours and I ended up missing a meeting,” she said. 

Speaking on condition of anonymity, she said she faced drizzle and occasional flooding all the way from her home to the office. 

The flood prevention centre of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administra-tion (BMA) reported at 6.45am that several Bangkok roads were inundated. Among the flooded routes were Pattanakarn Road, Lad Prao Road, Srinakharin Road, Suwintha-wong Road, Ramkhamhaeng Road and Sukhumvit Road. Floodwaters were up to 30 centimetres high 

According to the BMA, accumulated rainfall in the 24-hour period ending at 7am yesterday soared above 90 millimetres in many parts of Bangkok. 

At a rainfall monitoring station in Nong Chok district, the accumulated rainfall reached 119.5 millimetres. In Bang Na district, it was 99 millimetres and, in Min Buri, 96 millimetres. 

The capital usually can handle up to 60 millimetres of rainfall in an hour. If rainfall is higher than that, it will take time for local authorities to drain all the rainwater away. 

The BMA said heavy rain started in the capital at about 5am. As the morning rush hour started, commuters were caught in severe traffic congestion. 

Social media platforms were flooded with posts complaining about Bangkok’s nightmarish traffic. 

The BMA admitted yesterday that some water pumps were undergoing maintenance and a flood-drainage system was not yet completed – reasons why it took longer than usual to drain all the floodwater. 

To ease flood woes, troops were deployed to direct traffic in areas of major flooding and heavy traffic congestion. 

At the Nimitmai Intersection in Min Buri district, the water was about 20 centimetres high and troops from the Ninth Infantry Division were dispatched to direct traffic. Troops were dispatched from the First Army Division’s First Infantry Battalion to help motorists at On Soi Phaholyothin 8 in Phayathai district, which was also flooded. 

At the Yen Arkat intersection on Soi Nonsee 14, troops from the First Infantry Battalion of the First Army Division were on standby to help motorists. The roads were covered by 5 to 10 centimetres of water. Another unit of troops was sent to direct traffic and on Boriphat Road in front of the King Rama VII Museum.

Traffic slowed down because of flooding and also due to cars that broke down along the way and blocked traffic. 

The situation improved drastically in the afternoon. 

Narong Ruangsri, who heads the BMA Drainage and Sewerage Department, assured motorists late yesterday that all main roads were now flood-free. 

“We urgently solved the flood problems,” he said, adding that his team was focused on clearing floodwater from secondary routes. “We will work fast,” he said. 

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