Hong Kong’s Drainage Services Department (DSD) has revived a HK$600M (US$77M) sewerage project after earlier plans were rejected following a row with contractors over prices.

In the move to reinstate the scheme of sewers and water mains between Wan Chai East and North Point on Hong Kong Island, the DSD’s engineering consultant, Binnie Black and Veatch, has left the mode of excavation up to contractors.

Work involves the construction of 3.87km of sewers using trenchless technology and 460m of sewers and 88m of water mains by open excavation.

Sewers built using trenchless methods will be 1800mm in diameter and sited to a maximum depth of 17m. Open cut sewers will range in diameter between 225mm and 1,500mm at a maximum depth of 5m.

Construction is due to start in April 2002 for completion in 43 months.

Contractors originally prequalified almost three years ago, but just three groups led by Gammon Construction, Paul YITC and Sun Fook Kong (Civil) submitted tenders.

After keeping the two lowest bidding contractors – Paul-ITC Construction and Gammon Construction – waiting for more than seven months while it assessed the tenders, the department subsequently rejected both.

Insiders said that DSD considered the bids too expensive, basing its estimates on the winning tender for a similar project by Gammon Construction in the Central business district.

At the time, one contracting source challenged the comparison: “Since Gammon also bid for the Wan Chai scheme, presumably it thought it was offering a fair rate for the job”.