Singapore

Bukit Brown road hit by second delay

A road project fraught with issues from the start has been hit by yet another setback.

The Bukit Brown road will not be completed by next month as projected.

It is the second delay since the project was announced in 2011.

First slated to be completed by the middle of last year, and then the end of this year, the 2km road - which cuts through a cemetery - has been delayed because the main contractor got into financial difficulty.

In response to press queries, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that it expects the road to open partially by the third quarter of next year and fully by first quarter of 2019 - making it nearly three years behind time.

The southbound section towards Adam Flyover will open first, followed by the northbound section towards MacRitchie Viaduct.

Singapore-listed civil engineering group Swee Hong was awarded a $134.7 million contract to build the dual four-lane road in August 2013, and soon faced cashflow problems.

DEBT RESTRUCTURING

In February 2015, it filed an application in the High Court to propose a debt restructuring plan for its creditors.

Last year, it raised up to $8 million by issuing new shares and warrants to Readymade Steel Singapore, a company owned by Indian infrastructural group Kridhan Infra.

Readymade's subsidiary, KH Foges, is a sub-contractor of Swee Hong.

In July this year, Swee Hong announced that it had repaid its debts. But its financial woes had already caused a slowdown in the Bukit Brown road project.

When The Straits Times checked on Monday, works looked nowhere near completion, even if part of a raised portion was taking shape.

A resident interviewed said those living in Sime Road had been told that it would now take up to late-2018 to complete.

Besides Swee Hong's problems, the project was also held up by exhumation of graves, which took almost a year longer than anticipated, the LTA said.

BUKIT BROWN CEMETERYLand Transport AuthorityMacRitchie