The new Metro City Ring will be delayed by a year and cost an additional 1.7 billion kroner unless working hours are extended.
So claims Metroselskabet, the company behind the Metro, which is hoping to complete the new line and its 16 new stations around the Copenhagen area by December 2018.
“It’s hard for the contractors to run two shifts with the working hours we currently have,” Metroselskabet's CEO, Henrik Plougmann, told Ritzau in April. “That’s why the machines are quiet two-thirds of the time. If we can instead work longer in the evening and on Saturday, we will be able to work more efficiently.”
The company currently works around-the-clock at three sites and has the option of operating 24-hours a day at four additional sites.
But the company has proposed only making one of the sites a 24-hour operation while extending the working hours at all 16 new stations by four hours, so that construction can take place until 10pm on weekdays and between 9am-4pm on weekends.
The City Council turned down an earlier application to extend working hours but the council now has until summer to decide whether to agree to Metroselskabet’s proposal or risk having to shell out almost two billion extra kroner if the project runs longer than planned.
“Metroselskabet has informed us that the project is not currently delayed but that it could be delayed by a year if it doesn’t get the permission [to extend working hours],” Copenhagen's mayor, Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne), told Politiken newspaper. “That will end up costing a large sum and we want to avoid that.
Despite assurances from Metroselskabet that they are actually on schedule, far-left party Enhedslisten is convinced that the company is keeping quiet about the delays.
“The company would not have submitted the application if they weren’t already delayed,” Martin Kabell (Enhedslisten) told Politiken. “The admission has only been made indirectly.”
Kabell pointed to an email accidentally released by Metroselskabet in January which states that “the project is becoming so delayed that it cannot be ignored.”
Metromonitor, a network of around 700 neighbours to the construction sites, is unsympathetic to Metroselskabet’s request.
“They have not followed the schedule and now they are trying to buy more time by working in the evenings and at night,” Metromonitor's founder, Søren Sandahl, told Politiken. “But they are also jeopardising the health of neighbours. Of course we need the construction finished as quickly and smoothly as possible but now that the schedule isn’t being kept, we ought to discuss what should be done.”
Construction on the expansion of the Metro began in 2009. The project's estimated total cost is 21.3 billion kroner.