Tue, Jul 14, 2009 - Page 2 News List

EIA proposes testing system integration


Environmental impact assessments (EIA) for new mass rapid transit (MRT) lines will include system integration risk assessments, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

The decision came after an EIA panelist proposed the move during a review of the planned Minsheng-Sijhih (民生汐止) Line.

Concern about the safety of new MRT lines has increased “because of the problematic system integration between the MRT's new Neihu Line and the old Muzha Line,” the panelist said.

The Neihu Line, which opened on July 4, experienced its worst system malfunction on Friday. Passengers were evacuated from the trains and forced to walk along the tracks to the nearest station.

The Neihu Line continued to experience problems the following day, with some train doors closing too quickly, trapping passengers.

“Proposals for new MRT lines must include risk assessments for integrating systems manufactured by different contractors,” he said.

The EIA panel yesterday granted conditional approval for the first phase of the Minsheng-Sijhih Line, a NT$42.2 billion [US$1.28 billion] construction that will stretch 11km from Neihu District (內湖) in Taipei City to Sijhih in Taipei County, with nine stations.

The EIA panel also ruled that Taipei City must submit a separate EIA proposal for the second and third phases of the line. If completed, the entire line will span a total of 17.5km, with 15 stations.

Besides risk assessments for system integration, the proposals must also include risk assessments for natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, the panel said.

In related news, the EIA panel yesterday returned a proposal to expand city planning for the Tucheng Ammunition Warehouse (土城彈藥庫) to the EIA review committee.

If Taipei County wishes to continue pushing the case, it would have to submit supplementary information, it said.

In the proposal, 163 hectares of primarily undeveloped land in the heart of Taipei County's Tucheng (土城) will be turned into a residential area as well as a “judiciary zone.”

However, environmental activists have lobbied for the preservation of the area. The old military base was blocked from development for the past half century and is now home to more than 30 species of rare birds and more than 70 species of rare plants.

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