BANGKOK — Dozens of trees near the Grand Palace were cut, moved, or shorn of its branches earlier this week to make way for construction of an underpass.
Taiwut Kunkaew, director of public works at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, said the trees were cut so that the tunnel under Maha Rat and Na Phra Lan Roads can be built for the safety of citizens and tourists visiting the Grand Palace. A budget of 1.125 billion baht was set aside for the project.
Director of the city’s environment department Chatri Wattanakajorn said that the tamarind trees near the Viseschaisri Gate and in Sanam Luang will be moved to a tree nursery in Saraburi.
Frangipani trees will be relocated to the nearby Chaloem Phrakiat Forest Park, then brought back after the tunnel is complete
Oraya Sutabutr, founder of the urban tree conservation group Big Trees Project said that city hall didn’t consult her group for proper ways to cut or move the trees.
“This project moved really fast. It was proposed at the end of last year and approved at the beginning of this year and then work began,” she said. “Normally projects like this require an environment impact assessment.”
City officials are often criticized for hacking off leaves and branches of trees that provide a much needed shade in the capital, as was done to dozens of trees on Wireless Road in late April.