CHINA: Following a detailed review of the estimated cost-to-complete of the main construction works for Hong Kong’s Shatin – Central Link project, MTR Corp announced on December 6 that it had increased its estimate by 23% to HK$87·3bn.
MTR Corp had previously said that ‘continuing challenges posed by external factors and difficulties similar to those encountered by most major infrastructure projects in Hong Kong’, would mean the cost would need to be revised upwards.
The review attributed around 70% of the increase to external factors including the handling of archaeological finds at the Sung Wong Toi station site, late or incomplete handover of construction sites in Wan Chai North, and unbudgeted foundation works for a top-side development at Exhibition Centre Station.
SCL also faced ‘challenges common to many infrastructure projects’, including a shortage of labour in the construction sector and unfavourable ground conditions.
The latest cost estimate is based on the revised programme which envisages completion of the Tai Wai to Hung Hom section of the SCL in mid-2019 and the Hung Hom to Admiralty section in 2021.
‘The SCL is a huge and highly complex project which involves construction at more than 70 work sites across 14 districts in Hong Kong, including construction in some of the most densely populated areas of our city with many old buildings and structures’, said Projects Director Dr Philco Wong. ‘It also involves modification and interfacing works along a number of existing railway lines and in existing stations. Meticulous planning and execution is required to ensure that all SCL related works which are being done along the East Rail Line, West Rail Line and Ma On Shan Line will not affect our reliable and safe train service for passengers throughout the construction period.’
The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council had previously approved funding of HK$79·8bn for the entire SCL project, including HK$71·4bn for the main construction works. In June it approved additional funding of HK$848m for advance works.