The Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) has slammed the contractor responsible for building the depot superstructure of the Taipa section of the Light Rail Transit (LRT), blaming delays in the construction process on the contractor’s apparent inaction.
The Depot Superstructure is one of the five projects comprising the Taipa section of the LRT. It is situated east of the Cotai Strip and south of the airport, with the Avenida do Aeroporto on its west side. The project will cover an area of approximately 130,000 square meters, consisting of an operation control center, a factory and maintenance building, an area for trains to be parked and cleaned, as well as a 600-meter train-testing track.
GIT stressed that the Depot Superstructure is “the heart of the entire LRT system.” The office criticized the contractors on the grounds that “the construction progress of the Depot Superstructure is severely lagging behind, because the contractor didn’t actively fulfill its contractual obligations.”
GIT’s substitute coordinator, Ho Cheong Kei, stated in a response to a written inquiry made by lawmaker Si Ka Lon: “The LRT is Macau’s first ever railway transport system project; it is a new thing to Macau residents, the technical personnel and the government. During its planning and construction, we indeed face difficulties and challenges brought by various uncertainties.”
The lawmaker urged the authorities to provide concrete reasons for the delays in construction, as well as to outline all accountable personnel and to propose solutions. Following this, GIT stated that these recommendations had been made to the contractor in a variety of forms; the contractor was even allegedly penalized over MOP10 million.
“However, the contractor so far still hasn’t actively improved, and this has become the key factor that’s affecting the entire construction progress of the Taipa route,” said Ho Cheong Kei. Ho indicated that the government has been negotiating with the contractor to solve the problem as soon as possible.
“The government has always risen to the challenges, made improvements and conducted follow-ups with real actions, such as strengthening communication with the project consultants, supervision companies and contractors, as well as requesting a full review and assessment of the present construction conditions from the technical team,” he stated.
As for the lawmaker’s suggestion that public housing projects be built above the future Depot Superstructure, Ho responded by saying that the project’s design and construction would have to be restarted, thus further postponing the completion of the project. “If the Depot Superstructure can’t be built, the trains can’t be delivered and tested, and Macau’s LRT won’t be able to operate,” he stressed.