The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) has expressed concerns that the opening of the eastern section of the Orange Line may be delayed amid legal disputes involving the construction of its western extension.
According to the MRTA, the eastern section, which will connect the Thailand Cultural Center and Min Buri, is scheduled to open in August 2025. The western section, which will link the Thailand Cultural Center and Taling Chan, is due to open two years later.
Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM) won the bid to jointly invest with the government in developing the western section and operating the trains on both sections. However, the MRTA has been unable to sign the contract with BEM due to several lawsuits challenging bids that have not been settled.
MRTA Governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas said the legal wrangles delaying the western scheme are likely to affect the opening of the eastern project and the maintenance of civil engineering work. The eastern section’s civil engineering work is 98.8% completed and the agency is assessing maintenance costs. The MRTA is now negotiating with the builder of the eastern section to expedite its handover of the civil engineering work of the section.
The western section has faced delays for over two years due to a series of lawsuits triggered by the MRTA’s cancellation of the first round of bidding. The MRTA later issued a statement defending the transparency of the project and the second round of the bidding in which the BEM won the bid. (NNT)