Delays on a key interfacing contract on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project is delaying the award of the multi-billion dollar contract for the Northern Connection of the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link.
An industry source has revealed to Construction Post that the artificial island being formed for the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities for the bridge was late.
“The award is delayed as the man-made island is way behind programme so the tender validity is being extended,” the source said.
Another industry source said: “My understanding is that there was a very long tender validity.”
According to one source, three contractors are battling it out to win the contract for the Northern Connection which features an undersea road tunnel.
They are Dragages-Bouygues joint venture, a joint venture led by French contractor Vinci Construction Grands Projets and a Chinese grouping.
Both sources said one of the contractors had a price advantage.
“Northern [Connection] should be Dragages’ as their price is the lowest,” said one source.
Highways Department completely sidestepped enquiries from Construction Post regarding details of the tender and the delay in awarding it.
In a statement issued through the Transport and Housing Bureau, it said that the tendering process for the Northern Connection was progressing as per the planned delivery schedule.
“The contract is under tendering stage and we cannot disclose any information of the tender concerned,” the statement said.
In the most recent Quarterly Report on the Public Works Programme for the quarter ending December 2012 issued last March, the bureau reported that reclamation and superstructure work for the boundary crossing facilities was about 10 percent complete after work started in late November 2011.
Not much new land could be seen when Construction Post’s correspondent visited the area in April this year although there were a lot of vessels in the area apparently doing reclamation work.
Earlier this month, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved funds totalling HK$44.8 billion at money-of-the-day (MOD) prices for the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link.
The project consists of two main sections, the Northern Connection at 5.5 kilometres length and the Southern Connection at 3.5 kilometres length.
The Northern Connection consists of a dual 2-lane sub-sea tunnel from Tuen Mun Area 40 to the artificial island of the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge while the Southern Connection consists of a dual 2-lane sea viaduct linking the HKBCF and North Lantau.
Apart from the tunnel, the contractor for the Northern Connection will have to reclaim some 16.5 hectares of land at Tuen Mun Area 40, build a toll plaza with 17 toll booths and associated approach roads and facilities.
In a paper submitted last month to the Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council by the Transport and Housing Bureau, the cost of the tunnel alone was estimated at HK$16.2 billion before addition of the inflation factor.
The bureau said it hoped to start construction of the link within this year with the Southern Connection being completed by the end of 2016 and the Northern Connection completed by the end of 2018.
In an exclusive last week, Construction Post reported that Gammon Construction had won the Southern Connection contract worth HK$8.66 billion.