Ital-Thai awarded Bt21-bn deal for Red Line section
SRT project may use old Hopewell columns
The State Railway of Thailand yesterday awarded to Italian-Thai Development the second civil-works contract worth Bt21.24 billion for the Bang Sue-Rangsit section of the Red Line, part of which will run on columns erected under the ill-fated Hopewell project in the 1990s.
Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan said he had ordered the SRT to hire Ital-Thai also to construct the two stations that were added later to the project plan. If the SRT has to launch a new bid for the Samiennaree Temple and Lak Hok stations, it will face a preparation cost of 10-20 per cent.
The state enterprise was also told to conduct a feasibility study for stations at Thammasat University's Rangsit campus and Navanakorn Industrial Zone in line with the Cabinet's resolution, he said.
The SRT might also have to adjust the tracks from three to four to accommodate future high-speed and mass-transit routes, he said.
Ital-Thai is obligated to complete construction in three years. The Red Line is expected to carry 30,000-40,000 passengers per hour.
The route will use some columns from the abandoned Hopewell elevated-train project as its base and some Hopewell columns will be removed.
The Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System, whose main contractor was Hong Kong-based Hopewell holdings, was cancelled in 1998, and the disused concrete columns have marred the landscape ever since.
Prapat Chongsanguan, governor of the SRT, said he would talk with the winners of the two Red Line contracts next week about revising the construction plan to be in line with ministry's order. The SRT is willing to increase the tracks to four.
Premchai Karnasuta, president of Ital-Thai, said the company would charge the SRT the same unit cost for the construction of the two additional stations, which is very low as it is based on the cost estimated in 2010. At current prices, the cost would be higher. If the SRT allows the company to build these two stations as part of the main project, the cost per station is estimated at Bt700 million to Bt800 million.
Vitawat Kunapongsiri, director of the Red Line second contract for Ital-Thai, said the company would next month examine the strength of the Hopewell columns that run 20 kilometres from Samiennaree Temple to Don Muang.
The survey is expected to be completed in two months. From a preliminary inspection, 10 per cent of them are sturdy enough and 90 per cent will have to be removed or demolished at a cost of about Bt200 million.
The company calculates that it has to shoulder an increase in the project's cost of 8 per cent or Bt1.7 billion due to recent increase in the minimum wage, he said.