Bangkok MRTA’s Orange Line western section bidding contest scrapped

Construction News
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority activates a tunnel-boring machine for the eastern section of the Orange Line under Ramkhamhaeng Road in Bang Kapi district, Bangkok, in March last year. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Bangkok MRTA’s Orange Line western section bidding contest scrapped

Bidding has been cancelled for the western section of the Orange Line in Bangkok, running from the Thailand Cultural Centre to Bang Khun Non area, after a legal dispute over bid criteria.

The contractor selection committee of the Bangkok’s east-west electric railway project made the decision on Wednesday.

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority, the project owner, said that a legal dispute on the project was no closer to resolution and thus blocked it from setting a timeframe for the selection of the contractor. That could delay the selection and affect the whole Orange Line.

The invitation to the bidding contest was issued on July 3 last year, and the MRTA planned to open bid envelopes on Nov 23.

The western section of the Orange Line was designed to stretch underground for 13.4 kilometres. Both the above-ground and underground parts of its eastern section, 22.5km from the Thailand Cultural Centre eastwards to Min Buri, are already under construction. The total cost of the entire line was estimated at 140 billion baht.

MRTA deputy governor Kittikorn Tanpao said the bidding cancellation was the best option, because all parties would be on a level playing field and the project could progress.

The MRTA had the right to call off the bidding contest, he said.

Last November MRTA indefinitely postponed considering bids for the construction of the western extension pending the Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling on the bidding dispute.

The selection committee and the MRTA asked the court to revoke a Central Administrative Court order instructing the MRTA to stick with the old bidding criteria for the Orange Line extension.

The court order followed a petition in September by one of the potential bidders, Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC), who claimed the new bidding terms could lead to unfair competition.

That petition came after the MRTA revised bidding terms despite having already sold bid envelopes to 10 interested parties.

The MRTA accepted bid envelopes for the western extension project on Nov 9.

Companies tendering for the project included the Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited and the BSR Joint Venture, which consists of BTSC and Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction.