Less than two weeks before the much-anticipated opening of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL), a large shopping mall near the Kowloon West terminus was found to have developed cracks.
The discovery, which was revealed by investigative news agency FactWire on Sunday, has raised concern that there may be more buildings affected by the construction of the multibillion-dollar project of the MTR Corp.
Cracks were found in the concrete walls of The Elements, a shopping mall sitting atop the Kowloon MTR Station, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports. The mall is situated underneath the high-rise residential development The Waterfront and near the International Commerce Centre.
The cracks were suspected to have resulted from the construction of the cross-border link.
Moreover, several places in a minibus station at The Waterfront entrance were found to have been hit by ground settlement, with one place experiencing a subsidence of more than 200 millimeters, FactWire said.
Lin Cheung Road along The Waterfront was also found to have uneven surfaces, apparently the result of repaving, while dozens of marble panels on a wall at the base of The Waterfront building have cracks, with the biggest measuring 60mm wide.
Ngai Hok-yan, a veteran civil engineer, said the problems were caused either by subsidence or piling work from nearby construction projects, RTHK reported.
Ngai said the situation could worsen as a result of vibrations from the high-speed train service, which is due to start on Sept. 23.
Some residents of The Waterfront are now worried that the structural damage may have a negative impact on the prices of their flats. They are asking concerned agencies to provide sufficient explanation and handle the situation properly.
In response to media inquiries, both MTR Corp. and the Highways Department said subsidence readings around the West Kowloon terminus have not exceeded safety limits, according to the FactWire report.
However, they said they do not disclose the results of their monitoring, including how many such occurrences of cracks and subsidence were found.
Director of Buildings Dr. Cheung Tin-cheung said construction near The Elements has been completed, and subsidence might have happened during the construction.
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