Retender for Yuen Long footbridge after initial cost debacle

Retender for Yuen Long footbridge after initial cost debacle

There will be a fresh tender to redetermine the cost of a Yuen Long footbridge that initially cost HK$1.7 billion.

The 540-meter elevated footbridge will be connected to Long Ping Station.

“We intend to initiate parallel tendering to weigh in on the latest market prices for an accurate estimation of the cost before seeking the Finance Committee’s approval for funding,” the Transport and Housing Bureau wrote in a letter addressed to the Legislative Council.

“Upon obtaining an accurate estimate of the cost, they will submit a funding application to the Finance Committee for consideration.”

The government was scheduled to table a funding request to Legco in October, but withdrew the item following widespread criticism.

It was then discussed and endorsed in meetings at the Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee on May 23 and 26 last year.

In the letter, the bureau said tenderers will also be asked to come up with enhanced and more cost-effective designs.

“We will incorporate the requirements as listed in the tender documents to invite tenderers to propose cost-effective construction methods,” it said.

“We would also encourage tenderers to submit innovative proposals to enhance the aesthetics of the proposed elevated pedestrian corridor and its integration with its current environment.”

The bureau said it understands that the community has concerns over the costs and how the proposal may integrate itself with streetscape improvements, the surrounding environment and the landscape.

“We have holistically reviewed the case and reaffirmed the necessity to construct the elevated pedestrian corridor in an attempt to alleviate pedestrian congestion and potential safety hazards in Yuen Long town center,” it said.

Lawmaker Tony Tse Wai-chuen of the architectural and surveying sector, said yesterday that the government developing the project through tendering, to a certain extent, has responded to the views of the community and of the surveying and planning sector.

Tse said he will correspond closely with the developers and continue to maintain communications with different associations in the sector.

He said his vote will eventually depend on the result of parallel tendering, including whether it could lower the costs of building the bridge and whether it could lower the impact on the environment, the ventilation of the corridor and the city space.

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