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Costain fights on


COSTAIN'S FIGHT to win compensation worth £48M for delays on slipforming the main towers of Hong Kong's Tsing Ma bridge was brought back to life this week.

NCE has learned that the arbitration between the bridge's contracting joint venture AJC and the Hong Kong government has been moved from Hong Kong to London. The hearing re-started on Monday under leading construction arbitrator John Uff and is expected to take up to a month.

AJC, which includes Costain, Kvaerner and Japan's Mitsui, blamed main designer Mott MacDonald for months of delay during construction of the towers in 1993. It alleged that special clauses in the concrete specification to reduce chloride penetration to virtually zero were impossible to meet (NCE 3 September 1998).

Costain-Mitsui was responsible for the 230,000m3 of concrete in the bridge's towers, anchorages and piers. It carried out over 100 trial mixes without success before the consultant relented on some of the original conditions.

Concurrent slipforming of both towers was then needed to meet the early July 1994 deadline for handing the structure over for cable spinning. It is understood onerous financial penalties would have been incurred if the deadline was missed.

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