MTR Corporation reports shoddy-work findings on Sha Tin-Central Link to Hong Kong police
- Embattled rail operator says it reserves right to sue contractor
- Second reinforcement bar found completely disconnected from its coupler
Hong Kong’s embattled train operator has reported the latest findings of shoddy work on the city’s most expensive rail project to police, after unearthing the first suspected cases of corner-cutting.
The MTR Corporation also said it reserved the right to sue the project’s main contractor, Leighton Contractors (Asia), for any defective work.
That came on Monday night as the Highways Department released inspection results for eight more reinforcement bars from two Hung Hom station platforms for the Sha Tin-Central Link.
Three of them were found to be substandard, embedded only 28.54mm, 34.99mm, and 35.32mm into their couplers. According to the supplier, 40mm of each bar should be screwed into its coupler, and anything less than 37mm is substandard.
One bar and a coupler at the bottom of the east-west platform for the Tai Wai-Hung Hom section were found to be completely unconnected, the second pair to be found in that state.
The bar had only two or three of the usual 10 screw threads – the slanted grooves which guide, and hold, the screw end into the coupler – raising suspicions it was deliberately cut short.
Monday’s findings brought the number of faulty connections to 17 of 49 checked.
The MTR Corp is in the process of breaking open at least 80 sections of the two new platforms at the station for the HK$97.1 billion (US$12.4 billion) link to see if structural safety has been compromised. At least 168 connections will be excavated for inspection. A final assessment is expected to be delivered by mid-March.
“Relevant information and findings have been submitted to relevant government departments and the police for detailed investigation. We will fully cooperate with the government and the police in their investigation,” the MTR Corp said on Tuesday.
“The corporation is very concerned about the workmanship of the connection between re-bars and couplers. The corporation reserves all rights to take legal action against Leighton on any substandard or non-conforming works,” it added.
Transport minister Frank Chan Fan earlier said the MTR Corp might break open more platform sections if tests on steel bars eventually produced what he called “undesirable” results.