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Hong Kong MTR

Defective work uncovered at second platform at Hung Hom station, bringing rate of substandard re-bars on Hong Kong’s Sha Tin-Central Link to 40 per cent

  • Three samples found faulty on the north-south platform and two on the east-west, bringing the total to 28
  • Lawmakers warn it may be necessary to demolish at least one platform at the scandal-hit station
PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 January, 2019, 8:12pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 January, 2019, 10:25pm

There was more bad news on Friday for Hong Kong’s most expensive rail project after a safety test revealed shoddy work which has plagued the scandal-hit Hung Hom station had afflicted another platform.

Lawmakers warned there was a high chance of at least one platform being demolished, to restore public trust in the project’s safety.

The Highways Department released inspection results for nine more reinforcement bars from two station platforms for the Sha Tin-Central Link – the east-west platform for the Tai Wai-Hung Hom section, and the north-south platform for the Hung Hom-Admiralty section.

On the north-south platform, three out of six samples were found to be substandard, with embedded lengths of 32.42mm, 32.91mm and 35.36mm into their couplers.

For the east-west platform, two out of three were found to be defectively installed, with embedded lengths of 32.97mm and 34.66mm.

According to the supplier, 40mm of each bar should be screwed into its coupler, and anything less than 37mm is substandard.

The latest results brought the number of faulty steel bars detected to 28 out of 69 checked, with an overall substandard rate of 40 per cent, the highest so far. For the east-west platform, 24 of 55 bars have been found to be defective so far – a substandard rate of 43 per cent. For the north-south platform, four out of 14 were faulty, meaning a failure rate of about 29 per cent.

More shoddy work unearthed on Hong Kong’s costliest rail project

The MTR Corporation was in the process of breaking open at least 80 sections of two new platforms at the station for the HK$97.1 billion (US$12.4 billion) link, to determine if structural safety had been compromised. At least 168 connections will be exposed for inspection. A final assessment is expected by mid-March.

Lawmaker and former rail boss Michael Tien Puk-sun earlier said that if the eventual failure rate for one platform exceeded 40 per cent, it would have to be torn up. Otherwise it would be hard to convince the public that the platform was safe.

Democratic Party legislator Lam Cheuk-ting agreed, saying it would be costlier for the rail operator to conduct consolidation and remedial works at a platform if its failure rate was too high.

We don’t know situation at scandal-hit station, transport chief admits

“With the findings so far, which are horrifying, I am totally prepared for the fact that at least one platform will have to be demolished and rebuilt. We are no experts but from these findings, the public has already lost its confidence in this rail project,” he said.

“As far as I know, if the failure rate is high the cost of conducting consolidation and remedial work at the platform will be bigger than that of rebuilding it. Since consolidation works may not suffice to restore public confidence, it will be better to demolish the whole platform and rebuild it rather than arguing over the remedial work.”