Date
11 December 2017
MTR’s Shatin-Central rail line is falling behind schedule due to archaeological work at the To Kwa Wan station. Photo: HKEJ
MTR’s Shatin-Central rail line is falling behind schedule due to archaeological work at the To Kwa Wan station. Photo: HKEJ

MTR’s Shatin-Central line grapples with delays

MTR Corporation has confirmed that construction work on the Shatin-Central Link (SCL) will be delayed by at least five months due to some archaeological work at the To Kwa Wan station, Hong Kong Economic Times reported Thursday.

Wong Wai-ming, MTR’s general manager overseeing the SCL project, was quoted as saying that apart from the archaeological work, the company faces a huge shortage of tunnel workers next year when the rail operator’s projects reach a peak, adding to potential delays in construction.

For the SCL project, the company has sought to hire 60 to 70 foreign workers but so far only about 17 of those applications have been approved.

The original schedule of commencing service in 2018 hinges on a number of factors, including the government’s decision on whether to follow the West Island Line’s practice of skipping uncompleted stations during the initial phase of operation, Wong said.

According to the executive, relocating the To Kwa Wan station site is not a viable option. He stressed that rail designs took years of research and it would entail massive work in environmental impact assessment and other time-consuming administrative procedures if a design has to be altered.

The MTR and government have earlier put forward a back-up solution to address the expected delay in construction work at the West Island Line, suggesting that trains could skip the Sai Ying Pun station, which is still undergoing construction, during the line’s initial operation.

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