SINGAPORE: Lornie Highway, which will connect MacRitchie Viaduct to Adam Flyover, will be completed later than scheduled due to an extended deadline for public exhumation and the main contractor's financial restructuring.
The new dual four-lane road, which was originally scheduled to be opened at the end of this year, will be progressively opened in two phases starting from the third quarter of next year, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Tuesday (Nov 14).
The southbound highway towards Adam Flyover is expected to open in the third quarter of next year while the northbound highway towards MacRitchie Viaduct will open in the first quarter of 2019.
The site of the highway, which runs through Bukit Brown Cemetery, meant the public exhumation had to be done before construction works could begin.
Public exhumation of affected graves at the site was supposed to be completed by the end of 2013 but since only a small number of graves were claimed, LTA had to extend the deadline for next-of-kin to register their claims.
The deadline was extended to after the Qing Ming festival in 2014 and public exhumation was completed a year later than originally scheduled.
In addition, the main contractor Swee Hong faced financial difficulties in 2014 which slowed down work on the project. After obtaining a court order in February 2015 to propose a debt restructuring plan, the pace of work was resumed in November that year.
LTA said that it decided to retain the contractor on good faith as the company was upfront about it situation while also presenting a recovery plan, and subsequently took the necessary steps to restructure financially.
"LTA also took into consideration that the contractor had, with the support of many local subcontractors and suppliers, kept works going safely albeit at a slower pace as they underwent restructuring," it said.
If the contract had been terminated or another tender was called, this would have led to further project delay, loss of public monies and also negatively impact the local subcontractors and suppliers engaged by the contractor, said LTA.
With debts fully paid in July 2017, Swee Hong and its subcontractors have also deployed additional manpower to accelerate the construction works for the highway.
The company is on track to complete the project by the first quarter of 2019, LTA added.