The construction cost of a pedestrian overpass in Tseung Kwan O skyrocketed by nearly 100 percent within six months to HK$221 million (US$28.5 million), prompting concern from residents, thestandnews.com reported Friday.
Legislative Councilor Gary Fan Kwok-wai from the Neo Democrats said the government is to blame for the rise in cost, as the pedestrian overpass was proposed as early as 2003 but nothing was done about it for 13 years.
The construction cost of the facility was estimated at around HK$100 million over the past few years.
That number has gone up to HK$221 million in the latest documents from the Sai Kung District Council, up by HK$109 million from the estimate of HK$112 million in September.
The project, which entails building a pedestrian overpass between Tong Ming Street and Tong Tak Street, as well as a passenger elevator on Tong Tak Street, is now scheduled to begin at the end of this year and be completed by mid-2019.
Fan said that, although the project was officially gazetted in 2009 and scheduled for completion in 2011, the idea was first raised back in 2003, and the district council has been urging the government to expedite the project, with no success.
He said local residents have noticed that while the pedestrian overpass remained in limbo, a residential project above an MTR station, two hotels and a park nearby were constructed during this period.
Fan said the government could not explain the reason for the delay, as the overpass is a relatively simple structure with no special functionality.
It is astonishing how the construction cost has soared, he said.
Fan pointed to some government construction projects in the past where simple structures were built beyond their required safety level so that contractors could charge more for the added work, with no actual added benefit for the users among the public.
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