The estimated cost of the first stage of Macau’s light rail transit (LRT) system has increased by 80% to $940m (MOP7.5bn) since 2007.

Initially proposed at $526m (MOP4.2bn) in 2007, the cost has risen because of international price rises as well as modifications in the plan, the government has announced while unveiling the final construction plan for the project’s first phase.

The tender for the project will be opened shortly, with construction work expected to begin in the second half of 2010 and to be finished by 2014.

Under the revised plan, the first phase will be 21km long covering 21 stations, with ten in Macau and 11 in Taipa and Coloane.

The line will include a 2.6km tunnel in Nam Van and Sai Van and four substations.

The new plan also includes turning the Border Gate, Barra, the Jockey Club and the Lotus Flower Border into integrated transport interchange hubs.