ELEVATED ROAD AND TRAIN SYSTEM
The Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System (BERTS) was a failed project to build an elevated road and rail line from central Bangkok to Don Mueang International Airport. Construction started in 1990, but was suspended in 1992, and was finally halted by legal acrimony in 1997 with only 10% or so complete. The project was cancelled in 1998.
BERTS had been approved without a feasibility study or clear timeline for completion, as a joint project of the Thai Ministry of Transport, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), and the Thai subsidiary of Hopewell Holdings of Hong Kong.
Rumours of corruption swirled around the project from the outset. The first part of the project was due to be in operation by December 1995, with the rest completed by December 1999. However, construction ceased in August 1997 during the Asian financial crisis. Hopewell blamed slow land acquisition on the Thai government, while Thai officials stated that Hopewell had simply run out of money. Both sides demanded financial compensation and threatened to sue the other for breach of contract.
The project left over 1,000 concrete pillars standing idle along the planned routes, described by the Bangkok Post as "a Bangkok version of Stonehenge". Revivals of the project were proposed periodically by both Hopewell and SRT, but were always shot down by the Thai government.
In April 2019, Thailand's Supreme Administrative Court upheld an arbitration committee's ruling in favour of Hopewell for GB£2 billion. The court ordered SRT to pay Hopewell compensation of £300,000,000, plus 7.5% interest per year. The interest, totalling £330,000,000, brings the total to £630,000,000, payable within 180 days.
In October 2019 the transport ministry announced that it will seek a reversal of the Supreme Administrative Court's ruling ordering it and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to pay compensation to Hopewell. The ministry will file a lawsuit asking the civil court to look into irregularities that the SRT has uncovered concerning Hopewell's registration as a contract competitor. Hopewell may have been ineligible to win the contract from the outset, according to the transport minister.
Return to the Home Page