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TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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MTR eyes Hong Kong high-speed railway's early completion

26 kilometer, $67bln project may be completed earlier as MTR awarded 14 major contracts worth $18bln.

MTR Corp., the builder of a HK$66.9 billion high-speed train line in Hong Kong, said work on the railway may be completed ahead of schedule because of government support and commitments from contractors.

Piling and tunneling work has already begun, Chew Tai-Chong, MTR’s projects director, said on Tuesday at a conference in the city. The work is also likely to come in on budget, he said. He didn’t elaborate on a possible finishing date for the line, which is due to be completed by August 2015.

Contractors will dig up 10 million cubic-meters of rock, soil and other materials while constructing the 26 kilometer (16 mile) underground railway, which will run from downtown Hong Kong to the border with China, Chew said. Hong Kong lawmakers in January approved funding for the project to help cut travel times to Chinese cities after two earlier votes were delayed because of objections about costs and the demolition of houses.

High-speed railways “can bring in economic benefits,” said Stephen Ip, a Shanghai-based partner for transactions and restructuring at consultancy KPMG. “It’s the ability to have better public transportation in terms of reliability, frequency, comfort and safety.”

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