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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:02pm
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MTR pile-driving 'may have hit 10th century relics'

Archaeological dig had not yet extended to site of latest discoveries, says construction manager

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 4:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 11:52am

The latest relics to be discovered at a railway construction site in Kowloon City may have been hit by piles driven into the ground, the MTR has admitted.

The relics were found at the site of the To Kwa Wan station on the Sha Tin-Central line after thousands of artefacts - including an ancient well and parts of a building that may date back to the 10th century - were found in an area to be used as a tunnel shaft prompting the archaeological excavation area to be extended at the start of the year.

Previous studies had already suggested the structures may extend beyond the shaft site.

However, Peter Ip Ho-ching, MTR's construction manager for the line, said yesterday that the rail operator had not been aware of the possible presence of relics when piles were being driven into place to support the shaft. "Some [ancient] structures are very close to each other, so it would not be surprising if some piles indeed hit them," he said. Ip did not say if any damage had been found.

He said that before the Antiquities and Monuments Office makes its decision on whether or not to preserve To Kwa Wan relics in situ, steel panels would be driven 12 metres into the ground in an effort to protect all the relics discovered so far that have not yet been removed.

The operation would use technology that cuts out noise and vibrations. Instruments to monitor vibration and soil settlement would then be installed.

Tunnelling could then continue, and the area could be preserved in situ if the station's design was adjusted, he said.

While the discoveries had led to a five-month delay in tunnelling, Ip said the actual impact on the project could not be determined until the archaeological excavations had been completed and the antiquities office had decided how to preserve the relics.

Ip said the MTR had presented the plan to the antiquities office, but the Development Bureau suggested more monitoring instruments be added. The panels would only be installed once the MTR had received permission from the office.

The relics at the site are now under canvas. Ip said installing the panels was urgent to protect the relics from rain and sun.

Ip said the panels could take a few weeks to install. "We will take it slowly and when there's any problem, we will know about it."

Rival protests were held at the site yesterday. One group called for the MTR to stop work, while another - which protested during a visit by district councillors - called for the first phase of the link to open in 2018 as scheduled.

 

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HK-Explorer
The MTR line must be opened by 2018 as this is critical to the livability of Hong Kong people. People are currently crammed into MTR trains like sardines, cross harbor tunnels are full and our air is so full of smog that it is dangerous.
How dare the government put some old antiquities ahead of the health of the people of HK!! Hong Kong has many antiques and don't even display these to the people of HK. They are just piling up in storage. We don't need anymore.
Just go and look at HK museums and tell me if they are displaying these? No, they are not. It is just a small special interest group that is in to this type of thing and have the ability to push the government around.
At some point the HK government has to say no to special interest groups and start working for the people of HK. We deserver good transportation, we deserve clean air and we deserve a good standard of living.
Getting these lines built on time is more important than universal suffrage. Occupy central is missing the real issues facing the people of HK. They should be protesting this bureaucracy that is slowly eroding the livelihoods of HKers.

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