Worried by Tourist Injuries, Loei Residents Fix Road Themselves

Baan Noi residents repair a stretch of road Saturday.

LOEI — Tired of waiting for officials to fix a treacherous stretch of road known for causing frequent accidents, a group of neighbors in the northeast did the work themselves Saturday.

Armed with cement and tools, more than 50 residents of Baan Noi in Loei province filled the potholes along 900 meters of road this morning. Community leader Adul Polkham said they decided to act after many Japanese tourists had accidents riding motorcycles through their community in recent weeks.

“Many tourists ride past here each day,” Adul told reporters, adding that the residents also fear more accidents will take place during the New Year holidays if they didn’t do something.

According to Adul, the community repeatedly asked provincial authorities to repair the road for several years, only to be told work could start as early as 2019. So they decided they were done waiting, pooled 7,000 baht and bought equipment to fix the road themselves.

The road is a popular trail for riders of large motorcycles, as it leads to a scenic viewpoint of the Mekong River along the border with Laos.

Delayed state funds for road and other infrastructure maintenance in the countryside are notorious in the top-down bureaucracy, which experts have long urged to decentralize.

In May, monks in the Chok Chai district of Nakhon Ratchasima left their solitude for a day to help local residents fix a road. They reportedly had waited for authorities to approve repairs for nearly 10 years, to no avail.

Monks and residents fix a road in Nakhon Ratchasima province in May.