Sat, Apr 14, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Neihu MRT on schedule: DORTS

INSPECTION As Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin looked over the line yesterday, transit officials said that the problems that have held up construction are being resolved

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) promised yesterday that it would have the the Neihu MRT Line finished by June 2009 as scheduled.

Although construction has been running 3 percent behind schedule, DORTS said its most difficult task on the line -- removing large drainage box culverts and drainage pipes -- was expected to be completed by the end of this month, and there should be no more delays.

"We have been hurrying the construction the past six months. As the construction difficulties are to be resolved soon, we are confident of meeting the deadline," DORTS director Tom Chang (常岐德) said at the Neihu Line depot.

The project has also been suffered from labor shortages.

A DORTS division chief, Wu Kuo-an (吳國安), said this problem would be resolved by the hiring of 247 local and foreign workers by the end of the month.

After testing a train in the depot since last year, Chang said DORTS will next will test the train at the Nangang Software Park and Nangang Exhibition Hall stations, beginning next month.

"We want to give the public a chance to see the train and build their confidence about the line being completed on time," Chang said.

Inspecting the line yesterday, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) urged DORTS to ensure the quality of the construction as well as meeting the deadline.

The line is scheduled to be completed in December next year and service is scheduled to start in March 2009.

That is a year later than originally scheduled. When work began on the line in May 2002, the completion date was next year, but a number of construction difficulties forced the postponement.

The entire 14.8km Neihu-Muzha Line will have two underground stations, 12 surface stations and 10 elevated stations when the Neihu extension is completed.

Chang also vowed that the MRT Xinyi Line would be completed and opened in 2012.

"Without suffering from construction difficulties, the construction is ahead of the schedule and we will finish it by 2012," he said.

The construction fence near Jinshan S Road will be torn down in 2011 to ease traffic congestions during the final stage of construction, Chang said.

The Xinyi Line is a 6.4-km long extension to the Tamshui Line and will have seven underground stations including the Dongmen area, Daan Forest Park, Anhe Road, the Taipei World Trade Center and the Hsiangshan Park area.

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