A major contractor working on the MTR's West Island Line warned yesterday that the wet season could further hamper progress on one of the entrances to Sai Ying Pun station. The entrances on First Street and Second Street are now all-but complete in time for the station's rescheduled opening at the end of March. However, the opening of the Ki Ling Lane entrance has already been delayed until the end of the year. Construction of the entrances has been hampered by soft soil, which is why trains do not yet stop at Sai Ying Pun after the extension of the Island Line from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town opened at the end of last year. The problems saw Gammon Construction resort to an unusual, and slow-going, ground-freezing technique to harden the soil and make excavation easier. One of its directors, Hau Chi-chiu, said yesterday that the first 80 metres of tunnelling towards Ki Ling Lane had now been completed, with 20 metres left to go. As part of the ground-freezing process, pipes for the refrigerants were being sunk into this last stretch - and this should be completed in the next few weeks. It would then take two to three months to freeze soil to minus 10 degrees Celsius before drilling can begin, said Hau. But he warned: "If it is too rainy it will affect the time needed." Hau also said workers installing the pipes had come across rocks which might further complicate matters, although he remained optimistic the entrance would open this year. By that time, Gammon chief executive Thomas Ho said, most of the company's rail projects should be completed, excluding the Sha Tin-Central Link and the express rail link to Guangzhou. This would ease labour shortages as 20 to 30 per cent of its workers would be released back onto the market, said Ho, maintaining more foreign labour was necessary to ease building costs.