Wed, Jun 01, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Bridge builder faces termination

SLOW KINMEN WORK:The National Expressway Engineering Bureau said that Kuo Teng Construction was barred from bidding for government projects for one year

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Expressway Engineering Bureau on Monday said it would terminate its contract with Kuo Teng Construction Co if it fails to speed up construction of Kinmen Bridge.

Work on the bridge connecting the main island of Greater Kinmen (大金門) and Lieyu (烈嶼), also known as Little Kinmen, began in 2013 after it had been a campaign promise in five presidential elections.

Kinmen residents say the bridge will probably never be completed because of failures to keep up with the construction schedule and a series of accidents at the site.

The bureau said it might have to change the contractor for a third time, adding that Kuo Teng Construction has been instructed to increase the number of workers and boost construction materials, as well as to use more and better machinery to build the bridge.

“The contractor failed to bring in partners that were equipped with better machinery for the project, even though it was facing a shortage of workers and construction materials and clearly lacks the ability to handle the project on its own,” the bureau said in a statement.

“The contractor had fallen behind the construction schedule by 16.07 percent as of last month, which shows that it has neither the ambition nor the determination to expedite the progress of the work,” the bureau added.

It said that it informed Kuo Teng Construction in February that delays to the bridge’s construction mean the firm was barred from bidding for government projects for one year, adding that at the time, it was behind schedule by about 10 percent.

The bureau on Wednesday last week said that work on the bridge was nearly 19 percent behind schedule.

Based on the delays in construction, Kuo Teng Construction was officially notified that it must address the problem within 30 days or face termination of its contract with the government, the bureau said, adding that another qualified contractor would be recruited through a public tender so that work could proceed.

The bridge was the focus of a question-and-answer session at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.

Public Construction Commission Minister Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀) was asked what the commission would do to improve the quality and efficiency of public projects.

“My understanding is that the contractor lacks the ability to carry out the construction in deep water and has problems fulfilling the terms of the contract,” he said, adding he would seek to resolve the problem.

Wu said that the problem with public construction work in Taiwan is that contractors that are incapable of fulfilling the contract are often hired.

The key lies in that most government agencies prefer to choose the bidders that offer the cheapest packages for public contracts, fearing that they would be held accountable if the public were to accuse them of wasting taxpayers’ money.

Wu said his top priority is to make sure government workers are not afraid to hire firms that present the most comprehensive bids, adding that the commission would lay out the types of projects to which this bidding method applies.

The information for each project would be made transparent, including information on contractors’ safety records, he added.

This story has been viewed 3528 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top