HK$1 billion cost overrun on Anderson Road's footbridges due to govt's rush: Audit watchdog

The audit watchdog found a pedestrian footbridges project cost HK$1 billion budget excess in construction as the government approved the plan without a completed study.

The project involved is on Anderson Road and covers four footbridges currently.

According to a report issued by the Audit Commission on Wednesday, the project - approved by the Civil Engineering and Development Department(CEDD) in 2008 - was originally planned to build only three footbridges at the cost of HK$2 billion.

However, CEDD approved the construction contract before the Housing Department (HD) completed the traffic review study on the surroundings of the construction site, citing a public housing programme would be developed on the site to intake population in 2015.

Later in 2009, after completing the review study, HD found that the original design of the footbridges needed to be significantly altered, with an addition of a new footbridge.

On this basis, the government had to compensate the project's contractor for the extension fees resulting from a longer construction period, which led to an additional payment of HK$70 million, and the hiring of another contractor for building the new footbridge, which caused an overall cost overrun of around HK$1 billion.

Together with the cost of construction workers' salaries and other expenses, the total project expenditure exceeded HK$3.5 billion.

"CEDD should have decided on the design of the project prior to award tendering," the Audit Commission advised in its report.