Key MRT project contractor goes bust

Work on the Downtown MRT Line 2 is expected to be slowed down by at least a further six months as its main contractor has gone bust over a failed restructuring plan. The new addition to the Downtown circuit, when completed, will link Singapore's north-western corridor to the new Marina downtown.
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SINGAPORE - The Downtown MRT Line 2, which will link Singapore's north-western corridor to the new Marina downtown by 2015, is likely to be delayed because a main contractor has gone bust.

Austrian builder Alpine Bau, which was working on the line's King Albert Park, Sixth Avenue and Tan Kah Kee stations, filed for insolvency last week after a failed restructuring plan.

Industry players said the most optimistic outcome would be a six-month slowdown.

"It depends on a number of things," said the managing director of a major construction company. "Like how quickly a receiver is appointed and what it is tasked to do, and if the project is to be re-tendered and how soon that can be done."

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said there are "legal and contractual matters to be resolved" - a process that it said will take three to six months - before work can resume.

It added that it will work closely with the relevant parties to "minimise the impact" on the project's schedule. But it was unable to say with certainty the likely duration of a delay.

Alpine Bau's plunge into insolvency caught the LTA by surprise.

Its spokesman said yesterday: "Just days before it filed for insolvency, Alpine had given us the assurance and underlined its commitment to complete the station and tunnelling works.

"There had also been no signs of any slowing down of works on site."

The company, which announced its bankruptcy move last Wednesday, has completed about half of the work it set out to do on the three stations and tunnels, said the LTA.

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