Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taipei City defends MRT route after snag in plans

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems was urged yesterday to answer allegations of poor planning after construction on a section of the Songshan MRT Line was halted because workers discovered ground anchors belonging to a building on Nanjing E Road in the line’s path.

A total of 11 ground anchors, which are installed to strengthen the foundations of a building, were found under the Asiaworld Shopping Mall on Nanjing E Road.

Removal of the ground anchors could damage the mall’s structure, while failing to dismantle the ground anchors would delay construction of the line, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chang Mao-nan (張茂楠) said.

“Why did the department find ground anchors along the proposed route? The department should explain its plans and whether or not the route will be altered as a result,” Chang told a press conference at Taipei City Council.

In response, Yu Nian-zi (余念梓), a division chief at the department, said the ground anchors were probably installed as temporary support anchors and could probably be dismantled without affecting the safety of the building.

The department expects to remove the ground anchors after reaching an agreement with the owners of the mall and the construction of the line should be completed on schedule, he said.

But Yu Chi-hsue (虞積學), a division chief of Taipei City’s Building Administration Office, said the department should invite construction engineering experts to assess safety issues before removing the ground anchors.

Yu said the office would also examine the mall’s construction records to investigate whether or not the builders had violated construction regulations by installing ground anchors outside the range of its planned construction site.

The Songshan MRT Line is an extension of the Xindian Line and will pass from Songshan train station along Nanjing E Road and to Ximending. The line is scheduled to open in 2013.

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