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History of the Department of Highways

 

The Department of Highways was established as a department on April 1, 1912. Formerly, there was only the Department of Canals, which was subjected to the Ministry of Agriculture. Until the reign of King Rama VI, a royal decree transferred the Department of Canals to the Ministry of Public Works and renamed the “Department of Highways”. The Ministry of Civil Engineering itself was also renamed the “Ministry of Communication” by a decree issued in the same year regarding bureaucracy restructuring.

On September 30, 1914, the Waterways Section of the Department of Highways was transferred to The Ministry of Agriculture, and renamed the “Royal Irrigation Department”. Therefore, only the Division of Roads remained under the Department of Highways which was headed by a Director-General.

 

On July 30, 1917, after Thailand declared war against Germany, Austria and Hungary, a royal decree was issued to merge the Department of Highways with the Department of Railways under the Ministry of Commerce and Transport which was headed by the Commander of the State Railways. The purpose was to pool the engineers at the country’s disposal, as many of the foreign engineers previously employed by both departments were citizens of hostile nations and had been dismissed or interned as prisoners of war. The Chief Road Work Technician was the leader of the Department of Highways at that time.

 

On June 29, 1932, King Rama VII, with the consent of the People’s Party, merged the Ministry of Commerce and Transport with the Ministry of Agriculture. The new agency was named the “Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce”. As a result, the Department of Railways, which included the Department of Highways, became a subordinate agency of the new ministry.

 

On May 3, 1933, at the recommendation of the cabinet, King Rama VII passed an Establishing Ministries and Departments Act B.E. 2476. Under the act, the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce was dissolved. And the Department of Railways, which included the Department of Highways, became a unit of Ministry of Economic Affairs instead.

 

On September 18, 1934, King Rama VII, at the recommendation of the House of Representatives, promulgated an act transferring the authority and responsibility regarding the construction and maintenance of highways from the Department of Highways to the Department of Municipal Public Works which was subjected to the Ministry of Interior.

 

On August 19, 1941, in the reign of King Rama VIII, the Division of Roads was upgraded to a department and was transferred from the Department of Municipal Public Works which was a part of the Ministry of Interior, to the Ministry of Communications, under Ministerial and Department Restructuring Act B.E.2484. Although, it was upgraded, the new department did not have its own office and was still located within the compound of the Department of Municipal Public Works at the base of Pan Fa Leelart Bridge. Then, on November 13, 1948, it was moved to Rama VI Road where the Division of Procurement of the present Department of Highways is.

 

On March 12, 1952, under the Ministerial and Department Restructuring Act B.E. 2495, the Department of Highways was renamed the “Department of National Highways”. However, it still remained under the Ministry of Transport.

 

On June 24, 1955, The Department of National Highways had the opening ceremony for the office building on Sri-Ayutthya Road.

 

On May 4, 1963, The Department of National Highways was renamed the “Department of Highways” again and transferred to the Ministry of National Development, under the Ministerial and Department Restructuring Act B.E. 2506. 

 

On September 29, 1972, the Department of Highways was transferred to the Ministry of Transport and it has remained there until present day. The transfer was made according to the following laws: