Shenzhen Metro expansion derailed as workers cut power lines, water main

Subway operator initially blames incidents on its maps not accurately showing locations of cables, but apologises after criticism from power supply bureau

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2018, 7:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2018, 7:25pm

Construction work to expand the subway system in the southern city of Shenzhen was disrupted over the past week after workers accidentally cut seven power cables in the space of three days, and then a water main, cutting off services to buildings nearby.

Three electrical cables were cut near the new Bagualing station on Line 6 on July 5, and two days later four more cables were severed near Gangxia North on Line 2, according to Thepaper.cn.

Officials from Shenzhen Metro initially blamed both incidents down to its maps not accurately showing the locations of the lines, state broadcaster Voice of China reported on Thursday.

A spokesman for the subway operator was quoted as saying that “our people in charge of relocating the municipal lines didn’t communicate well with the construction workers”.

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But the Shenzhen Power Supply Bureau criticised the construction work as “primitive” on its official Weibo social media account. The bureau included a photo of work being carried out near a warning sign reading, “High voltage cables underground, no excavation allowed”.

“How could you cut the cables when we had put up warning signs? And only two days after the last time?” the bureau wrote on Weibo on Saturday.

That prompted Shenzhen Metro to issue an apology on Sunday, explaining that the second incident was caused by workers misusing a pile driver.

The next day, the government called a meeting with metro officials about the severed cables, according to local media reports.

But the problems continued on Tuesday, when a water main was cut by workers near Lilang station, on the under-construction Line 10 – leaving residents in the area without water, Yangcheng Evening News reported.

By Thursday, water supplies had been restored and two of the seven power cables were still being repaired, Voice of China reported.

The Shenzhen Water Resources Bureau told the broadcaster that the construction site plans did not accurately show where the water pipes were.

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Shenzhen Metro said the duty officers in charge of the sites would be dismissed, while the firms involved – China Railway Erju Group over the power lines and China Railway Construction Corp for the water main – would be punished, according to the report.

There were 11 incidents involving damage to electrical cables during construction work on the subway system in the first half of this year, according to the power supply bureau.

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An engineer who has worked on the city’s subway system in the past said Shenzhen Metro should investigate and verify the municipal service line locations before any excavation begins, according to the report.

The bureau said it would strengthen communication with Shenzhen Metro to improve safety.