Studies have started into plans for a bridge linking the Thailand’s second largest island to the mainland.

The Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT) has proposed seven possible routes for the bridge, which will improve access to Koh Samui. The island, which is in the south of the country in the Gulf of Thailand, has a thriving tourism industry and at present relies on access by air or sea.

Concept drawing of Koh Samui Bridge, Thailand.

The proposed routes between the island and the mainland province of Surat Thani range in distance from 22 to 29km. EXAT held a series of public hearings this week to present the proposals to residents of districts that will be involved in the construction and to discuss economic and environmental impacts, as well as investment viability.