More engineering problems at the MTR’s Sha Tin to Central Link and Light Rail service have been uncovered. One of the issues is at the new Hung Hom station expansion where steel bars for a supporting wall were not connected appropriately, causing a risk of collapse.

Workers should have connected steel bars with couplers to form a steel cage as part of the wall’s structure. But a video and photos shot in July 2013 obtained by news site HK01 showed that workers were unable to twist the couplers tightly enough, with one saying “let’s loosen it [coupler].”

In the photos, some steel bars were not twisted into the couplers. A person wearing an MTR Corporation safety helmet was present in one photo.

Hung Hom station expansion site. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Exploringlife.

The project’s main contractor was Leighton Asia and the responsible sub-contractor was Intrafor – an experienced French-owned construction company.

A previous scandal at the Hung Hom station expansion involved around 5,000 steel bars which were improperly cut.

Exhibition Centre station fix

At Exhibition Centre station, also part of the under construction Sha Tin to Central Link, it was previously revealed that inadequate supporting I-beams were installed. The contractor, a joint Leighton-China State Construction venture, installed additional I-beams as a fix.

However, unnamed sources told Ming Pao that the MTRC found that some of the new I-beams were installed incorrectly as they deviated above or below the intended positions by up to a metre.

Diagram showing engineering problem at the Exhibition Centre station. Photo: MTRC.

Lawmaker Tien told the newspaper that he also heard about the incident from his sources.

Veteran civil engineer Ngai Hok-yan said the I-beams may bend owing to pressure if they are not fixed speedily.

Light Rail problem

The MTRC’s headaches continued on Wednesday, as the government revealed that a platform of Light Rail Tin Wing stop in Tin Shui Wai had sunk. Nearby housing construction work had to be suspended.

The MTRC then said in a press release that a property development project atop the station started in September last year, and some slight settlement was found was detected last October. Vibratory construction methods for the foundation works were halted.

The affected Tin Wing station platform. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Timhung005.

On June 8, the settlement of the platform reached a safety limit of 80mm and work had to be suspended. Reinforcement works were conducted but the settlement exceeded the limit on June 25 and construction was stopped.

The government said that the platform structure and tracks were safe for operation.

It came after a similar incident reported last month at two supporting bridge columns near the West Rail Line’s Yuen Long station. They had sunk 20 millimetres over five years.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.