Completion of Lornie Highway postponed to early 2019

Channel NewsAsia 14 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE: Lornie Highway, which will connect MacRitchie Viaduct to Adam Flyover, will be completed later than scheduled due to an extended deadline for public exhumation and the main contractor's financial restructuring.

The new dual four-lane road, which was originally scheduled to be opened at the end of this year, will be progressively opened in two phases starting from the third quarter of next year, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Tuesday (Nov 14).

The southbound highway towards Adam Flyover is expected to open in the third quarter of next year while the northbound highway towards MacRitchie Viaduct will open in the first quarter of 2019.

The site of the highway, which runs through Bukit Brown Cemetery, meant the public exhumation had to be done before construction works could begin.

Public exhumation of affected graves at the site was supposed to be completed by the end of 2013 but since only a small number of graves were claimed, LTA had to extend the deadline for next-of-kin to register their claims.

The deadline was extended to after the Qing Ming festival in 2014 and public exhumation was completed a year later than originally scheduled.

In addition, the main contractor Swee Hong faced financial difficulties in 2014 which slowed down work on the project. After obtaining a court order in February 2015 to propose a debt restructuring plan, the pace of work was resumed in November that year.

LTA said that it decided to retain the contractor on good faith as the company was upfront about it situation while also presenting a recovery plan, and subsequently took the necessary steps to restructure financially.

"LTA also took into consideration that the contractor had, with the support of many local subcontractors and suppliers, kept works going safely albeit at a slower pace as they underwent restructuring," it said.

If the contract had been terminated or another tender was called, this would have led to further project delay, loss of public monies and also negatively impact the local subcontractors and suppliers engaged by the contractor, said LTA.

With debts fully paid in July 2017, Swee Hong and its subcontractors have also deployed additional manpower to accelerate the construction works for the highway.

The company is on track to complete the project by the first quarter of 2019, LTA added.
Source: CNA/ad


First phase of Lornie Highway to open by 3rd quarter of 2018
ASYRAF KAMIL Today Online 15 Nov 17;

SINGAPORE — The Lornie Highway, a new dual four-lane road that connects MacRitchie Viaduct to Adam Flyover, will open progressively from the third quarter of 2018, about nine months behind schedule.

In a news release on Tuesday (Nov 14), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the new highway will open in two phases, with the southbound highway towards Adam Flyover operating first.

This will be followed by the northbound highway towards MacRitchie Viaduct that will open in the third quarter of 2019.

The LTA said the project was planned to be completed by the end of this year. However, a revised construction schedule, as well as the financial restructuring of its main contractor for the project, had affected the project’s completion.

Public exhumation of graves at the Bukit Brown cemetery to facilitate the construction of the highway had initially delayed the construction schedule, the LTA said.

The statutory board had extended the deadline for the exhumation by a year, from 2013 to 2014 until after the Qing Ming festival, as only a small number of graves were claimed by the next-of-kin.

In addition, the LTA said that its main contractor for the project — Swee Hong Limited — had also faced financial difficulties in 2014.

Swee Hong Limited was earlier awarded the design and build tender for the project in August 2013 for the “construction of a vehicular bridge spanning over the existing creeks and hillocks of Bukit Brown, and three vehicular underpasses located at the junctions of Lornie Road/Sime Road and Andrew Road/Lornie Road”.

The company was also contracted to convert the existing Lornie Road to a dual two-lane road, as well as implementing active mobility infrastructure such as park connectors and wider footpaths.

The northbound highway towards MacRitchie Viaduct that will open in the third quarter of 2019. Photo: LTA

The LTA said Swee Hong Limited had first informed them of its financial situation in October 2014 and had obtained a court order in February 2015 to “propose a Scheme of Arrangement to implement a debt restructuring plan”, which allowed the pace of work to continue.

“As Swee Hong had been upfront about its situation, presented a sound recovery plan, and took all the necessary steps to restructure financially, LTA decided to retain the contractor on good faith,” the LTA said.

“LTA also took into consideration that the contractor had, with the support of many local subcontractors and suppliers, kept works going safely albeit at a slower pace as they underwent restructuring.”

The LTA added that terminating its contract with Swee Hong Limited and calling for another tender would have led to “further delay, loss of public monies and also negatively impact the local subcontractors and suppliers” engaged by the company.

The construction company has since fully paid off its debt in July 2017, and the Scheme of Arrangement has since come to an end.

It is on track to complete the project by the first-quarter of 2019.

The LTA added that it is closely monitoring the works onsite to ensure that the contractor meets the project’s revised completion timeline safely, and in a manner that meets construction standards.

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