Braddell Flyover's completion delayed again

When completed, the Braddell Flyover will allow traffic from Lorong 6 Toa Payoh heading towards Bartley Road and Paya Lebar to enter the Braddell underpass without having to join traffic heading towards the Central Expressway. The project was suppose
When completed, the Braddell Flyover will allow traffic from Lorong 6 Toa Payoh heading towards Bartley Road and Paya Lebar to enter the Braddell underpass without having to join traffic heading towards the Central Expressway. The project was supposed to take four years but is taking six instead.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

New date is Q1 next year; area's residents unhappy with dust, linkway diversions

What was supposed to be a four-year project to widen the roads around the Braddell Flyover has become a six-year nightmare for residents of about 10 nearby blocks in Bishan and Toa Payoh.

Originally slated for completion by 2015, the end of the project has been delayed to the first quarter of 2017, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) confirmed yesterday.

It is the second time the deadline for the Braddell Flyover project has been extended since work started in 2012.

Part of the delay was caused by a change in the contractor for the project and the difficulties associated with the handover, The Straits Times has learnt.

Hexagroup was awarded the first tender for $29 million in 2012, with a completion date of end-2015.

But financial difficulties at the local construction firm led LTA to terminate the contract in 2015. It is not known how much had been paid to Hexagroup, which is in the process of winding up.

 

The current contractor, Feng Ming Construction (FMC), won the second $29.9 million tender that year to complete the public works by the end of this year.

The project includes the construction of a single-lane flyover for right-turning traffic from Lorong 6, Toa Payoh to connect directly with the Braddell underpass, towards Paya Lebar.

An officer from FMC familiar with the project said the company had to overcome unforeseen hurdles caused by the two contractors' different approaches to the job. Both contractors had had to iron out payment issues during the handover period, which may have stalled progress, he added.

Finally, environmental constraints due to the hilly Bishan side of the worksite also made it difficult for FMC to speed things along, said the officer, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

"We had a 17-month period to complete the project when we first took over in 2015. It was very challenging," he noted.

"However, these unforeseen hurdles have already been overcome, so all we need is more time to finish the construction. The new deadline is based on our best estimate."

He said he was aware of the volume of feedback from residents.

Those living next to the worksite told The Straits Times they were frustrated with the lengthy work.

One 65-year-old resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chua, said: "We're tired of sweeping the floor of this construction dust every other day."

As the construction work has "dragged on", the retiree has been looking to sell his four-room flat and move to somewhere quieter.

"Even if the project is finished on time, the new flyover means there will be more cars going past next to our block," he said.

Residents were also unhappy about the many linkway diversions that made it a longer walk to get to the two temporary bus stops along the worksite.

An LTA spokesman said work is ongoing, and the main flyover structure is "substantially completed".

Temporary structures to minimise inconvenience and noise barriers have been erected.

"When completed, the flyover will allow traffic from Lorong 6 Toa Payoh heading towards Bartley Road and Paya Lebar to enter the Braddell underpass without joining traffic heading towards the Central Expressway."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2016, with the headline 'Braddell Flyover's completion delayed again'. Print Edition | Subscribe