The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) said the test dates on concrete materials for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge project submitted by an outsourced contractor were altered.
CEDD said it learned from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) only this month that samples other than the intended materials could have been used, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Director of Civil Engineering and Development Lam Sai-hung said its staff noticed discrepancies in the test reports last July. Employees of the contractor later admitted they adjusted the time on the testing equipment in order to meet the requirements in the contract.
Lam said the change would not have a significant impact on the bridge construction as it was only a “management issue”.
He said the strength of concrete materials after it is formed for 28 days and 30 days is largely the same. The contractor was supposed to conduct regular tests on the concrete materials after 28 days.
The CEDD has ordered that no one other than government supervisors can alter the date and time on the testing equipment.
The contractor, Jacobs China Ltd., will receive a failing mark from the department for the quarter, Lam said.
However, private engineer Simon So said the punishment will only lower the chance of Jacobs China winning tenders and it will last only three months to a year at the most.
So said the punishment is overly lenient.
Jacobs China Ltd. provides services to 26 government projects and the relevant departments will be informed about the incident, government sources said.
Lam refused to make further comments, saying the matter is being investigated by the ICAC.
Also, Director of Highways Daniel Chung did not say which sections of the bridge were involved in the the falsified test results.
Legislative councilor Lam Cheuk-ting said the CEDD underestimated the consequences when the incident came to light.
But Secretary for Development Eric Ma said he is confident the bridge will open as scheduled.
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