HONG KONG'S Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) is set to win approval to build a £3bn commuter line. It has beaten urban rail rival, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC), for the right to develop the 15km line from Hong Kong island to the New Territories town of Sha Tin.
The Hong Kong government was expected to give the official green light as NCE went to press.
This follows approval by the Executive Council, the territory's highest decision making body, to appoint KCRC.
The move will bring a raft of opportunities for British consultants and contractors, several of which helped KCRC prepare the winning proposal. These comprised teams led by Mott Connell and Atkins China which carried out investigative and engineering studies alongside Australian firm Meinhardt.
Atkins also co-ordinated the studies and helped KCRC submit its bid.
Construction could start next year with completion in 2007/08.
Details of KCRC's procurement plans have yet to emerge ahead of the winning bidder's official appointment.
KCRC has already expressed its desire to widen the use of design and build procurement methods which so far have been limited to tunnel construction and building services and equipment contracts.
KCRC senior director capital projects James Blake told NCE that he will be looking for even greater involvement by contractors during the design following the success of the West Rail project (NCE 8 February 2001).
He said that giving contractors responsibility for detailed design could enhance the construction process, improve buildability for quality projects and possibly allow contractors to innovate which could lower construction costs.