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Eleven days to meet Hong Kong Disney rail link deadline

CONTRACTORS IN Hong Kong have been given just 11 days to apply for prequalification documents for civils contracts on the £226M Disneyland rail link planned by the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC).

The short period has surprised many firms especially as the MTRC has yet to award detail design contracts for the 3.2km spur line to Penny's Bay, where Disneyland is located. It also needs government approval for the project.

When complete, the link will branch off the Tung Chung line which connects Lantau Island with downtown Kowloon.

The short deadline has sparked a scramble among consultants looking for joint venture partners on the 3km Tai Yam Teng tunnel, which is the only design and construct contract on the project. It will involve a combination of cut and cover and rock tunnels.

'We can't understand why there is such a rush, ' said one contractor. 'We've been given until May 31 to apply for prequalification documents. Then, after they are issued by the MTRC, they have to be returned by June 18. The project is welcome though because there are few new major projects at the moment.'

Industry insiders believe the programme is being driven by the need to start construction of the Tai Yam Teng tunnel by the end of this year if the railway is to meet its 2005 opening date.

The MTRC's decision to go ahead with the Penny's Bay line comes despite falling ridership on the MTRC's existing Airport Express and urban rail network.

In January there was a fall of 3.3M passengers compared with the 66M travellers carried in January 2000.

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