In a bid to reduce land subsidence problems, the Bureau of High Speed Rail recently proposed an amendment to restrict land development along the high-speed rail line between Changhua and Yunlin counties by expanding the restriction zone from 60m to 150m from the railway tracks.
The bureau said it has been monitoring the changes in the bridge piers supporting the railway since 2003 and subsidence has increased in the two counties because local residents have tapped too much groundwater.
The biggest change is in the area where the high-speed rail and Expressway No. 78 converge, the bureau said.
“Expressway No.78 has a very high embankment that weighed a lot,” Bureau of High Speed Rail Chief Secretary Lu Hsin-Hsi (呂新喜) said.
“The Directorate General of Highways removed the embankment and turned it into a bridge, which alleviated the weight on the ground by about 70,000 tonnes,” he said.
Changes in angular magnitude of the bridges shrank from 0.00050667mm to 0.00042mm after the embankment was removed in April, which is less than the allowable value of 0.00066667mm and proof that the measure would help prevent further sinkage, Lu said.
The bureau wants to amend the regulations governing the development of property surrounding transport systems, proposing that any development that would take place within 150m of the railway tracks along a 62km section between Chanhwa and Yunlin would have to be reviewed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications before a construction permit could be sought from the local government.
The bureau said the proposed amendment could take effect as soon as it is approved by the Executive Yuan.
The government last year began a series of measures to address the land subsidence problem in central Taiwan, including increasing in the supply of water, restoration of groundwater sources, enhanced management and planning, the bureau said.
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