Tough task ahead for KCR engineers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 December, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 December, 1997, 12:00am

Engineers have a tough task ahead building the proposed KCR extension to Tsim Sha Tsui, an official admitted yesterday.

The $2.4 billion extention was announced yesterday along with a proposed $6.7 billion Ma On Shan rail link.

The link could be operational by mid-2004 serving some 500,000 people on a 10.3-kilometre line linking Lee On Estate at Ma On Shan to the urban area via an interchange at Tai Wai KCR station.

The Tsim Sha Tsui extension beneath Middle Road could be completed a year earlier.

But Highways Department railways development engineer, Mak Chai-kwong, said that because the link would be underground, the Cross Harbour Tunnel near the rail terminus in Hunghom might prove an obstacle.

Mr Mak said the route would roughly follow Salisbury Road and would require a sharp descent after crossing the tunnel.

'It will basically be an underground extension of the KCR to Signal Hill and there will be a new station in Middle Road. But the line has to go over the Cross Harbour Tunnel and then underneath Salisbury Road, so it is not an easy construction,' he said.

A 'cut and cover' construction method would be used, similar to the way the MTRC is building the new airport rail link under Central, Mr Mak said.

Some traffic and pedestrian disruption was inevitable, he said.

The KCRC will submit technical details on the work to the Government in six months.

To avoid the technical complexities of the Tsim Sha Tsui works, an elevated rail system is being used for the Ma On Shan link.

Mr Mak said a surface line would be cheaper, but an elevated system eliminated level crossings and other related safety concerns.

'If it was on the surface we would encounter a lot of junction problems,' Mr Mak said. The elevated option also required little land resumption, he said.

'The railway follows an existing reserve in the Ma On Shan town plan - it will be built within that corridor,' he said.

Much of the reserve is either next to or between the carriageways of Ma On Shan Road and the Tate's Cairn Highway.

Most of the line would be above street level.

'It is mostly elevated but in some locations such as City One, where there is no conflict with existing structures, it will be on the surface,' Mr Mak said.