14 January 2009

Reclamation for the Marina Coastal Expressway

The underground-undersea Marina Coastal Expressway includes reclamation at Marina Wharf and Marina East.

The highway is Singapore's most expensive road, outstripping the $1.7 billion KPE. The LTA attributed the escalated cost to poor soil conditions, land reclamation and the general increase in material costs. Work is scheduled to start this quarter, and due for completion in 2013.

The sixth and final civil contract to be awarded is for one of the more challenging portions of the project. It involves land reclamation at the seafront of the Marina Wharf area.

And there are some issues in awarding the tender due to a wide gap in tender bids.

Wide gap in expressway tender bids
Christopher Tan Straits Times 14 Jan 09;
THE tender to build a complicated stretch of Singapore's most expensive road has drawn two hugely different bids.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) called for tenders to build the Marina Wharf section of the underground-undersea Marina Coastal Expressway in March last year and two bidders were shortlisted.

Home-grown Hock Lian Seng Infrastructure submitted a bid of $305 million. And a joint venture between German construction company Ed Zublin and Singapore Piling bid twice the amount, with submissions from $600 million to $626 million.

Although the tender closed four months ago in September, the LTA has not awarded the contract.

Industry experts were bewildered by the vast difference in the two bids. A manager at a foreign company that has built several road and rail projects here said: 'We're not talking about $20 million, $30 million here. With $300 million, you can buy a skyscraper in Shenton Way.'

Others said that if the LTA cannot come to a decision soon, it may have to recall the tender - and risk delaying the works.

'Evaluation of this tender is currently ongoing. It is inappropriate to make any comment at this juncture,' said an LTA spokesman.

Work on the 5km 10-lane road linking the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) to Ayer Rajah Expressway is scheduled to start this quarter, and due for completion in 2013.

So far, contracts worth $3.7 billion have been awarded. These were largely for civil works, which were divided into six parcels. The first five were clinched by Japanese and Korean builders.

The sum already exceeds the $2.5 billion estimated price tag when the project was announced in 2007.

The highway is Singapore's most expensive road, outstripping the $1.7 billion KPE.

The LTA attributed the escalated cost to poor soil conditions, land reclamation and the general increase in material costs.

The sixth and final civil contract to be awarded is for one of the more challenging portions of the project. It involves land reclamation at the seafront of the Marina Wharf area.

'The LTA may have a problem. The lower bid may be too low to be feasible. But if it picks the higher bid, it may have to answer to taxpayers,' said another builder familiar with LTA projects.

Hock Lian Seng would not comment on its bid, while Singapore Piling parent group BBR could not be reached for comment.

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