Despite construction difficulties and routing debates, transportation officials yesterday expressed confidence that the Neihu line of the Mass Rapid Transit will be completed by June 2008.
"Neihu is developing fast but its roads are poorly planned, which leads to congestion," said Chen Yaw-wei (
The Neihu line is expected to go a long way toward alleviating traffic in the Neihu and Nankang areas. The Neihu line will be an extension of the already-existing Mucha line.
It will run north along Fuxing North Road from the Neihu line's Chungshan Middle School station.
The elevated line will go underground as it makes a stop at Sungshan Domestic Airport. The line will then cross the Keelung River via a tunnel to the Dazhi Station before going above ground again and continuing toward Neihu and its final destination at the Nangkang Business Park North station, which will connect to the MRT's Nankang line.
Project office director Kao Chung-cheng (高宗正) said yesterday that flooding considerations and narrow roads pose challenges for the construction on the Neihu line. He said that construction could only take place between December and April in several areas due to flooding considerations.
Neihu is situated between mountains and the Keelung River.
Chen said, "Within just 100m, there are points along the [Neihu line] that are 15m underground and others that are 50m under ground."
Another problem that has surfaced involves Neihu's complex underground drainage and electricity system. Because of the density of drainage pipes and electricity cables underground, along with the narrowness of many of Neihu's roads, DORTS has had to work around many constraints.
According to Chen, underground drainage box culverts -- concrete boxes that encase pipes and utility lines -- are located in the middle of many roads. Before construction on MRT infrastructure can begin, new culverts have to be built.
Debate over the Neihu line's route has also helped delay the process. One portion of the line passes by the Nankang Exhibition Hall on three sides, and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council has called for the route to be changed or the section to be built underground.