Consortium Puente Chacao has requested an additional US$72mn from Chile's public works ministry (MOP) to build the country's first suspension bridge linking Chiloé island with the mainland through the Chacao channel.
The consortium in charge of the works is now represented by South Korean company Hyundai, after Brazilian construction company OAS went bankrupt and continues to be investigated under the Lava Jato corruption probe.
"Like with every project, extraordinary works are paid in addition to the contracts," MOP minister Alberto Undurraga was quoted as saying by La Tercera. "But those works that are at the risk of the contractor are not paid in addition to the contracts, and the roads administration has to analyze it on a case by case basis."
The minister added that this type of request can only be made and approved in the construction phase, and the project is currently in its design phase.
Additional works mentioned in the petition include the requirement of foundries in the south pillar base, due to problems highlighted in the last soil studies of the area, as well as seismic adjustments required by the MOP from a recent upgrade to regulations.
Congresswoman Jenny Alvarez showed her concern, saying Hyandai's request "generates doubt, especially in the Los Lagos region, because of all the necessities the island already faces, many that are basic, such as potable water or a ramp for fishermen; I don't know if we will have the capacity to increase funds towards something that was supposedly advancing well."
The design phase of the project began in February 2014 with an 84-month deadline, based on the bidding documents, to be followed by engineering development and construction.
The first design draft was submitted by the consortium in August 2015, which later received comments from the MOP, said La Tercera. Towards the end of June, the company turned in another draft, which is currently under review.