Work on Taipei’s Tamkang Bridge could begin this year

Work on Taipei’s Tamkang Bridge could begin this year

REPEATED DELAYS:The lack of qualified bidders had hindered the project to link Tamsui and Bali districts in New Taipei City, but a contractor has finally been found

Construction of the Tamkang Bridge could begin this year should the contractor pass a final evaluation next month, the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) said yesterday.

The bridge project was launched to connect New Taipei City’s Tamsui and Bali districts to ease traffic congestion during peak hours and on holidays.

The project is divided into three parts: a section of road that connects the Port of Taipei and the bridge, the bridge itself, and a section connecting Bali to the bridge.

Construction of the road connecting the port to the bridge was completed in November 2016, while the construction of the section between Bali and the bridge began in September 2016, and is scheduled to be finished by 2020.

The tender for constructing the 920m bridge has been canceled seven times due to a lack of qualified bidders.

The project finally attracted one bidder — Kung Sing Engineering Corp — before the tender offer expired on Tuesday last week.

Kung Sing is one of the nation’s largest construction firms and is a qualified bidder, DGH Deputy Chief Engineer Teng Wen-kuang said, adding that it has built two tunnels for the Suhua Highway Improvement Project.

According to the Government Procurement Act, the contractor must pass the final evaluation, which is to be conducted during a meeting in the middle of next month, before it can officially be awarded the contract, Teng said.

“We will ask them to quickly start building the bridge after the contract is signed,” Teng said.

The bridge was designed in 2015 by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2014, the agency said.

Hadid passed away in March 31, 2016, at the age of 65.

The project failed to attract bidders due to the risks and challenges involved, as well as limited funding and a short time frame, Teng said.

The project’s budget was last year raised from NT$9.5 billion (US$325.47 million) to NT$12.5 billion and the planned construction time was extended from 60 months to 68 months to attract bidders, Teng said.

When the tender reopened this year, the agency further offered an incentive of NT$8 million to encourage bidding, the agency said, adding that it aims to open the bridge in 2024.

Once completed, the bridge would be world’s longest single-tower, asymmetric cable-stayed bridge, it added.

In addition to National Highway No. 2, people living in Tamsui and further north would be able use the bridge to travel to Taipei and New Taipei City, the agency said.

They would be able to connect to the Wugu Interchange on the Sun Yat-Sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1) and Jhungho Interchange on Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) via Bali-Sindian Expressway (Highway No. 64), it said.

They would also be able to connect to Highway No. 65 to New Taipei City’s Sinjhuang, Banciao and Tucheng districts, as well as the Tucheng Interchange on Freeway No. 3, the agency said.

People traveling to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport would also be able also take the bridge and connect to the Sibin Expressway, the agency said, adding that a trip to the airport would take about 30 minutes.

Commuters between Tamsui and Bali would see their daily travel time reduced by 30 minutes after the bridge is opened, it said.

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