Hong Kong MTR

Work on delayed Sha Tin-Central rail link set to resume

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 3:57am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 3:57am

Protective steel pilings have been installed around an archaeological site in Kowloon City, paving the way for the resumption of delayed building work on the Sha Tin-Central rail link.

The railway project is estimated to be 11 months behind schedule.

Members of the Antiquities Advisory Board yesterday conducted a site visit and heard the latest briefings from the MTR and an archaeological team.

"At the moment we are quite confident that the relics are not affected," board chairman Andrew Lam Siu-lo said after the inspection.

More than 5,000 sandbags were also put in place to protect the well, which dates back to the Song (960-1279) or Yuan (1279-1368) dynasties.

It was feared the relics could be damaged by vibration from the railway construction site.

Some antiquities board members earlier expressed concerns that the steel piling would be sunk as close as 1.8 metres to the well.

They asked if the MTR had any contingency plan if abnormal vibration was detected.

However, the installation work was halted when the vibration level was found to be approaching the maximum tolerable level.

The steel piles were then cut short by two metres to avoid damage to the well and relics nearby.

Members also inspected two other wells - one which was discovered only last week. Lam described it as "very modern".

Citing the archaeological team, another board member, Tim Ko Tim-keung, said the latest discovery was believed to have been built during the 1950s and was of low historical value.

The other, found last month with a connecting water channel, is also believed to be a product of the last century.

While the archaeological team put the date of its construction at between the 1920s and the 1940s, Ko said it was more likely to have been built before reclamation works in the area in the 1910s.

The archaeological excavation at the 23,000 square metre site at and around the future To Kwa Wan station is expected to be completed in September.

Lam said the board would discuss how to handle the relics after the excavation came to an end and experts reached conclusions about the discoveries.