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The line is part of the delayed 17km Shatin – Central link (SCL), which at $HK 97.1bn ($US 12.43bn) is Hong Kong’s most expensive metro project.
The SCL faced delays following alleged poor construction and a reported cover-up of mismanaged construction work on extended platforms at Hung Hom station. In addition, 40% of documents certifying work on two approach tunnels and stabling sidings at the station disappeared.
“There has been much public concern over the construction issues relating to the SCL, which have delayed the opening of this project so eagerly awaited by the local communities,” says MTR CEO, Dr Jacob Kam. “Under the proposed arrangements, three new stations along the TML are planned to open for passenger service in the 1st quarter of 2020 while continued efforts will be made to complete the rest of the TML as soon as possible.”
MTR is now undertaking the necessary system modifications works, including adjustment of the signalling system, re-cabling works and signage modifications, which will allow the opening of the first phase of TML once all statutory processes have been completed.
Following the opening of the first phase, passengers using the Ma On Shan Line will be able to travel directly to Kai Tak in East Kowloon district via Hin Keng and Diamond Hill. The expanded Diamond Hill station will become a new interchange between the TML and the Kwun Tong Line, allowing passengers from New Territories North and East districts to interchange onto services to the East Kowloon district and Hong Kong Island East district.
Hung Hom Extension
MTR has also submitted two reports to the government on the SCL, including a holistic assessment study for the Hung Hom Station Extension and a report on the verification study on as-constructed conditions of the North Approach Tunnels (NAT), South Approach Tunnels (SAT) and Hung Hom Stabling Sidings (HHS).
The reports concluded that the structures are safe for the purpose of the ongoing construction activities, but found suitable measures should be implemented to address deficiencies and achieve code compliance.
A long-term monitoring scheme will be developed to monitor the on-going structural integrity of the structures. However, this will take time to complete, resulting in the phased TML opening.
“Safety and quality of railway projects are of top priority to the MTR Corporation,” says Mr Roger Bayliss, MTR projects director. “We have completed a detailed verification of the Hung Hom Station Extension and related works based on methodologies agreed with the government. Given we have agreed the conclusions of the two reports with the government we will now proceed with the implementation of the suitable measures. I believe this is a pragmatic way to take forward the project and restore public confidence in our railway projects.”
Finalisation of the suitable measures at the platform slabs and tunnel structures under the Hung Hom Station Extension as well as HHS are subject to detailed design and acceptance from the government, which is expected to take four to six months to complete, with the measures expected to take nine to 12 months to implement.
“MTR is disappointed with the workmanship issues that have been uncovered at the Hung Hom Station Extension and adjacent structures,” Bayliss says. “We reserve our rights to take action against the contractor of the relevant works in accordance with the terms of the contract.”
MTR has also completed an audit of key documentation for the other five TML new stations which found that 90% of the structure related Request for Inspection and Survey Check forms are available while supplementary evidence, such as photographs and site diaries, fill the gaps.
“On the basis that MTR is in the process of negotiating an overall settlement with Government on the SCL project, including the Hung Hom related incidents, costs and other issues, and to facilitate the phased opening of the TML, we will fund the costs associated with the verification and assurance exercises and implementation of the suitable measures at the Hung Hom Station Extension and adjacent structures, as well as the costs for the preparation and implementation of phased opening, which are estimated to be around $HK 2bn,” Kam says.
“MTR will continue discussions with the government with a view to reaching an overall settlement in relation to the Hung Hom related incidents, phased opening, related costs as well as the overall cost to complete. We will continue to use our best endeavours to bring SCL to fruition to serve the public.”
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