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    Sep 30, 2014

    Downtown Line 2 to open sooner

    DOWNTOWN Line Stage 2, an MRT line which links Upper Bukit Timah to Marina Bay, will open by the first quarter of 2016 at the latest.

    Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said yesterday that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and contractors had managed to recover some of the time lost when Austrian contractor Alpine Bau went broke last year and halted work on the Sixth Avenue, King Albert Park and Tan Kah Kee stations.

    Two other contractors - Australia's McConnell Dowell and Korea's SK E&C - were roped in to take over Alpine's work. Then, the opening of the line was pushed back from late next year to mid-2016.

    Mr Lui, speaking during a visit to the new line's Bukit Panjang Station, said LTA and the new contractors had "worked very hard on trying to recover some of that delay".

    "With additional manpower and innovative workflow and so on, they have recovered some of that time. So today, we are confident that Downtown Line 2 can be opened by the first quarter of 2016."

    Since the two contractors took over, construction along the affected section has been ramped up - to 24 hours a day - from the usual 14 hours for other MRT works.

    The minister added that LTA and contractors "will continue to work hard to see if they can recover even more of that time and bring forward the opening even earlier".

    Mr Lui said LTA is also in the process of filing a claim against Alpine for not completing its projects.

    "We knew that even as we brought in these two new contractors…that there would be additional costs involved," the minister said.

    The Straits Times understands that LTA's claim will cover the $476 million worth of jobs awarded to the two contractors, as well as other monetary costs associated with the delayed MRT line.