PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 12:00am

I read with interest the report on delayed progress of roadworks on the Tolo Highway (South China Morning Post, February 6).

On my way to work every day, I drive past the site mentioned in the story and can attest to the snail's-pace progress and disruption that seem to have plagued this project since the very beginning.

This latest dispute with a subcontractor (which says it has not been paid by a mainland-owned construction firm) appears to be only the tip of the iceberg.

Last summer, I was held up in traffic for almost two hours when a number of truck drivers blocked the road in an apparent dispute over non-payment.

For weeks on end I have witnessed sections of the road coned off with no work taking place. I have seen completion-date notices that are routinely revised to target a fresh completion date. I have read newspaper reports detailing the obscene waste of public money on the installation of grotesque and unnecessary noise-reducing barriers along this stretch of highway.

What I find absolutely amazing is that the Highways Department idly stands by and remains silent.

Would a department spokesman please explain why the job is running 16 months late?

Is the contractor responsible for the delays allowed to bid for other government contracts? What measures does the department adopt to ensure that subcontractors and employees working on a highway project are paid properly?

Finally, what is happening with these noise barriers?

What sections are to be removed and what is the timetable for their removal?


Sai Kung