The Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) special task force reviewing the proposed Taipei Metro Circular Line (台北捷運系統環狀線) project gave preliminary approval to the proposed plan yesterday amidst concern that the planned construction may cause flooding in Sindian River (新店溪).
The case will now be submitted to the EPA’s environmental impact assessment committee for further review. The committee would decide whether it would approve or reject the project.
The MRT circular line project was one of the main campaign pledges of New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) during the special municipality mayoral elections in December 2010. A key component of the plan involves connections with existing MRT lines in Taipei City to create three new circular routes that would radiate outward from the city center.
The project was rejected on April 30 by the assessment committee because Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) decided to cancel the design for a flood retention basin and instead build a special drainage system to help discharge floodwater into Sindian River. Members of the committee said the design change would cause flooding along the river’s mid and downstream areas. In response, Chu at the time accused the committee of being “unprofessional.”
The project was resubmitted for review at the EPA’s special task force yesterday and DORT officials faced the same questions and doubts as in the previous review. Members on the task force said the planned system’s train depot in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) was in the Shihsihjhang area (十 四 張). They added that the DORTS could not use the information collected in the 1950s as a basis for their evaluation of runoff during the flood season. The department should take a lesson from the flooding in Greater Tainan over the weekend, they added.
Other task force members said that while the flooding may not happen around the system’s south depot because of its location on higher ground, flooding could potentially occur at the mid and downstream areas of Sindian River. They asked if Chu was prepared to take responsibility if a major flood were to occur in the Taipei Basin.
In response, the DORTS reiterated that it would build drainage culverts to help discharge floodwaters, which they said would not increase the burden on the Sindian River.