MTR Corporation (MTRC) CEO Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen said on Tuesday that the construction of the high-speed rail is 74% completed.

Leong’s comments were made at the eighth hearing before the Legislative Council select committee in charge of investigating the delay on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link project.

According to Leong, the tunnel boring work for the 25km tunnel, to terminate at West Kowloon, has almost been completed. The remaining 120m is expected to be done by the end of the year, i-Cable News reported. Around 75% of the railway is ready for the laying of overhead aerial cables, and the construction of the platform has begun.

The completion date of the high-speed rail has been continuously pushed back. Photo: Stand News.

Many Legislative Councillors raised questions at the hearing, including Frankie Yick of the Transport constituency, who demanded that Leong explain why the MTRC had failed to provide relevant information at the request of the Highways Department.

Leong said that with regard to queries submitted by the Highways Department in November 2013, the MTRC had been waiting for contractors to supply the latest timetable. Leong said that the MTRC had no intention of withholding any information about the delay, and that it had been updating the government with monthly 200-page reports on the progress of the project in an appropriate and timely manner.

Lincoln Leong. Photo: Wikicommons.

When asked about the fact that the scheduled date of completion could be subject to change and whether that meant that the project had no actual completion date, Leong reiterated that under the agreement with the government, there is a timetable for the construction of the railway, but that timetable was subject to amendment. The completion date had originally been set at August 2015.

Leong explained that the railway construction was a huge and complicated project, and that both the MTRC and the government had striven to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

The construction of the high-speed rail link has been hit with a series of scandals involving over-budget spending, delays, and mismanagement since its commencement. In July, Leong said that the government should be responsible for over-budget costs.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.