Work to complete viaduct to begin next year

Construction had been halted after flyover collapsed last year, killing one and injuring 10

Work to complete a viaduct linking the Tampines Expressway (TPE) to the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) - which collapsed last year, killing one worker - will begin in the first quarter next year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday.

The contract for the project, now expected to be completed in the first half of 2022, was awarded to local firm Hwa Seng Builder for $95.6 million, the LTA added.

Hwa Seng Builder will be responsible for completing the construction of the viaduct, including demolishing any structures deemed unsafe, said the authority, adding that the firm is an "established contractor" with various road construction projects under its belt.

Hwa Seng was most recently responsible for building a road connecting Punggol Central to the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway and TPE which opened last month.

When completed, the TPE-PIE Changi Viaduct is expected to ease congestion by letting motorists travelling from the TPE to the PIE and Upper Changi Road East bypass a stretch of the TPE between the Loyang and Upper Changi flyovers, as well as existing signalised junctions with Loyang Avenue and Upper Changi Road North.

Work on the viaduct in Changi, originally scheduled to be completed in 2020, was suspended after it collapsed in July last year, killing 31-year-old Chinese national Chen Yinchuan - and injuring 10 other employees.

Investigations after the incident found cracks at 11 locations on load-bearing corbels - a form of support structure - at the work site.

Original contractor Or Kim Peow Contractors (OKP) - which won the project with the lowest bid of $94.6 million in 2015 - and five men were charged in May for their role in the fatal collapse.

Court documents allege that the company and its group managing director, Or Toh Wat, were aware of cracks in the corbels of two piers of the viaduct, but had not conducted proper risk assessments of the affected corbels or taken measures to ensure the safety and health of employees.

Both the firm and Or were also charged with conducting unauthorised strengthening works to surrounding corbels six days before the collapse.

OKP was also accused of failing to stop works from taking place on the affected corbels, despite discovering fresh cracks on the structures that support the viaduct section.

Investigations revealed that a 40m section between two piers of the viaduct gave way, with preliminary findings pointing to corbels breaking under the weight of wet concrete.

OKP, which had been convicted over a fatality at another work site in 2015, faces a maximum $1 million fine. If convicted, the five men face jail terms of up to two years each, and fines of up to $200,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2018, with the headline 'Work to complete viaduct to begin next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe