The bidding for the Orange Line’s western section in Bangkok has been canceled following a legal dispute over the bidding contest criteria.
It was known that the contractor selection committee for the capital’s east-west electric rail project decided to scrap the bid on Wednesday. The Mass Rapid Transit Authority, which owns the project, said the legal dispute was not close to resolution.
Therefore, it was impossible to set a deadline for the selection of the contractor.
This could delay the selection and affect the entire Orange Line – the western stretch runs from the Thailand Cultural Center to the Bang Khun Non-area.
The invitation to the bidding contest was issued on July 3, 2020.
The MRTA had planned to open bidding envelopes on November 23, but legal problems have changed the scheme. According to MRTA deputy governor, Kittikorn Tanpao, canceling the bidding was the best option as all parties would enjoy a level playing field, and the project could move forward.
He said that the MRTA had the right to cancel the bidding contest.
The western section of the Orange Line was designed to be 13.4 kilometers underground. Some above-ground and underground areas of the eastern section, 22.5 km from the Thai Cultural Center east to Min Buri, are already under construction.
The total cost of the entire Orange Line project is approximately 140 million baht.
In November last year, the MRTA indefinitely postponed considering bids to build the western extension as it was awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Administrative Court on the bidding dispute.
The selection committee and the MRTA called for revoking an order from the Central Administrative Court that required them to adhere to the old bidding criteria for the project.
The order came after a petition that the Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) introduced in September as a potential bidder.
The BSTC stated that the new bidding terms could lead to “unfair competition.” This request was introduced after the MRTA reviewed the bidding terms despite having sold envelopes to 10 interested parties.
The MRTA accepted bid envelopes in the first week of November from some companies, including Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited, and BSR Joint Venture.