Date
21 September 2017
The discovery of ancient relics at the To Kwa Wan station area has led to some construction work being put off on a new commuter rail link in Hong Kong. Photo: Xinhua
The discovery of ancient relics at the To Kwa Wan station area has led to some construction work being put off on a new commuter rail link in Hong Kong. Photo: Xinhua

Shatin-Central line faces cost surge due to construction delay

Construction work on the Shatin-Central Link (SCL) of MTR Corp. is expected to stretch for at least a year longer than the target, causing a surge in the project cost, as preservation work on ancient relics found at the To Kwa Wan station area will force re-design of the facility, Ming Pao Daily reported. 

As archaeological work was completed last month, the government is set to propose a preservation plan as soon as next week after consultation with the Antiquities and Monuments Office, the report said Thursday, citing a source familiar with the matter.

The plan may involve preserving at least two ancient square wells at their original sites. One of them is located within the premise of the To Kwa Wan station and may lead to change or cancellation of the exit that connects Pak Tai Street.

Extra cost resulting from the delay is expected to be billions of Hong Kong dollars, the paper cited its source as saying.

The wells, along with thousands of antiques and relics sites, are believed by archaeologists to belong to China’s Song Dynasty, which ruled the country about a thousand years ago.

The Legislative Council’s Panel on Development is set to discuss issues related to construction and preservation at a meeting on Nov.25, and the Transport and Housing Bureau has said it will make a presentation on the SCL construction progress. 

SCL is fully funded by the government. The Highways Department had said earlier that a major delay could to lead to loss of up to HK$1 million per day.

While agreeing with the government that preserving relics is worthwhile, Michael Tien, chairman of Legco’s transport panel, suggested a three-phase approach to put SCL into operation so that the government can avoid massive loss.

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TL/AC/RC

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