17 September 2019
Steel bars were removed from three spots on two walls at the To Kwa Wan station, which experts said could severely reduce their load-bearing capability. Photo: MTR
Steel bars were removed from three spots on two walls at the To Kwa Wan station, which experts said could severely reduce their load-bearing capability. Photo: MTR

MTR reveals more work flaws at Shatin-Central Link project

MTR Corp. revealed more work flaws at the To Kwa Wan station construction for the Shatin-Central Link (SCL).

In its investigation report on Tuesday, the rail operator said two staircase walls at the station, not just one as reported by media, had some of their reinforcement bars removed.

Experts said the removal of some of the rebars could severely reduce the load-bearing capability of the walls.

But the MTR insisted that the “case does not affect the overall structural integrity of To Kwa Wan Station and has no impact on the overall programme of the project”.

The contractor, Samsung-Hsin Chong Joint Venture, confirmed that part of the completed works deviated from the approved drawings.

The internal wall itself has been constructed in accordance with the approved drawings, as confirmed by relevant inspection records.

However, further discussions with the contractor revealed that during the trimming of over-cast concrete to achieve a smooth surface for the purpose of putting tiles on the wall, some of the reinforcement bars at three locations adjacent to two staircases were found to have been removed.

Specifically, 18 square meters of rebars, or 11.25 percent of the total area of the wall adjacent to staircase no. 3 on the upper platform of the station, were removed.

A more serious flaw was found on the wall adjacent to staircase no. 4. In two separate locations, 8 and 33 square meters of rebars were missing. This covers more than 25 percent of the wall area.

However, MTR cannot confirm a similar problem at the parapet wall as reported by media.

The company iscovered that one of their inspectors knew about the removal of the rebars but did not report it.

“We are concerned about this omission to report and will commence disciplinary processes,” the railway operator said in a press release.

“The corporation is very disappointed with the contractor for not following the approved drawings.” 

However, the MTR report did not indicate who was responsible for removing the rebars.

The company stressed that the contractor will be responsible for the errors even if it was the subcontractor who committed them.

The contractor will rectify the errors and pay for the extra costs, MTR added.

The Highways Department said in a statement it was “deeply concerned about the supervision problems revealed in the report”.

It said it “is scrutinizing the details in the MTC report and will request the MTR to clarify and provide further information as necessary”.

Speaking to media before the regular Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, who is the acting chief executive, said the delay in the submission of the MTR report “certainly is not satisfactory”.

The company had been ordered to submit the report not later than Monday, but MTR said it was a public holiday.

“The government will never compromise on the safety issue,” Cheung said.

The railway company is facing a series of scandals at the HK$97.1 billion SCL project, including rebars cut short at the Hung Hom platform expansion and quality problems at the Exhibition Centre Station.

Asked if he would resign in the wake of the scandals, MTR projects director Philco Wong said he would strive to finish the project as scheduled, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

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