Bad weather has delayed work on Hong Kong’s high-speed rail project which will connect to the Shenzhen and Guangzhou train networks, MTR Corp. (00066.HK) project director Chew Tai-chong said Tuesday.
A heavy rainstorm on March 30 destroyed several tunnels and construction sites, and as a result, the project, originally scheduled for completion in 2015, may not start operation until 2017, a year later than planned, Chew said.
Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said he was surprised by news of the holdup.
Cheung said he asked the MTR to submit a full report to his office about the issue and to continue to update the public. He also asked the Highways Department to assess construction work.
Michael Tien Puk-sun, New People’s Party lawmaker and former Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp. board chairman, expects the delay to add to the project’s cost.
But that will not be the only extra expense, observers say — the holdup will also mean passengers will have to wait until 2017 to use the high-speed service.
In addition, the delay will dent property prices in the West Kowloon district where the train station for the service will be located because some homebuyers who bought in the area will not be able to make regular high-speed trips to the mainland from 2016 as expected. Last but not least, the projected yearlong setback will inevitably put a dent in the MTR’s share price.
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