Responding to Top Builders International Co. Ltd., the company responsible for constructing the light rail transit (LRT) depot in Taipa which has admitted that it has fallen behind schedule due to a “soil issue” and hinted that it may take the government to court over the issue, Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io said yesterday the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) would continue to discuss the row with the company further.
He added the government would “not exclude the possibility” of taking Top Builders International to court if the discussions between the company and the government failed. Asked by a reporter whether the government was ready to cancel the company’s contract, Lau said “we won’t exclude this.”
According to The Macau Post Daily, Lau made the remarks when asked by reporters about the row on the sidelines of a meeting of the government-appointed Logistics Industry Development Committee over which he presided.
The company, which is building the depot that will cost the public purse about 550 million patacas, said in a recent statement that due to the alleged soil issue the project’s progress was at a “partial standstill”.
The depot site will include a control centre, workshop and sidings
The statement also said that in order to prevent the project from being delayed indefinitely due to “circumstances beyond our control“, the company had sought legal advice and was considering legal action.
The company also said in the statement that if the “involved party” [government] continued to ignore the matter, or failed to look for a solution, it would be impossible to say when the LRT could start operating.
Talking to reporters, Lau said that it was normal for the project to have “fallen behind schedule a little” due to the matter.
“But it has a limited impact … however, the government does not accept any single project in the LRT construction to impede the progress of the whole project,” Lau said, adding that the government had experience in dealing with this kind of situation.
The first phase of the government-funded LRT project includes 21 stations – 11 in Taipa and Cotai and 10 in the Macau peninsula. The section in Taipa and Cotai is currently under construction. The government has said it expects the first phase of the LRT project to be operational in 2015.
The project’s first phase has a price tag of 11 billion patacas.
The project is fully funded by the government, which proposed the LRT construction 10 years ago. However, site investigation work began only in 2008.(macauhub)