Fri, May 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taipei roads closed for two weeks

SEEPING SAND:During an excavation on the intersection of Bade and Guangfu N roads, water and 6 cubic meters of sand trickled into a tunnel, causing land subsidence

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Workers stand near the sealed-off area affected by land subsidence at the intersection of Bade Road and Guangfu N Road in Taipei on Wednesday.

Photo: Huang Chien-hao, Taipei Times

Roads that have been closed due to land subsidence near the intersection of Bade Road and Guangfu N Road in Taipei are likely to remain closed until May 19, the Taipei Department of Public Works said yesterday.

The subsidence occurred because of an error during excavation work conducted by state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower).

The incident happened on Saturday last week when a tunneling shield — a machine used to construct protective structures to prevent workers from being buried by cave-ins — operated by a Japanese subcontractor accidentally caused sand and water to trickle into a tunnel being excavated 45m underground, the department said.

The tunnel is part of a Taipower project to lay power transmission and conversion cables in the area.

CECI Engineering Consultants, a firm contracted by Taipower to oversee the work, at noon on Saturday reported that 6m3 of sand had seeped into the tunnel, but that the situation was under control, department Commissioner Pong Cheng-sheng (彭振聲) said.

However, on Sunday the firm said that the situation had deteriorated and land subsidence had occurred, Pong said.

The subsidence peaked on Wednesday, when it reached 11.8cm, but was gradually contained after Taipower deployed 25 grouters and pumped 1,534m3 of grout and 30,000m3 of water into the ground to stabilize the soil. As of press time last night, Taipower figures showed the level of subsidence at 9.2cm.

The tunneling shield is trapped underground and will remain there until July 29, as the department must consult Japanese experts on how to retrieve it, Pong said.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had initially said that traffic flow would resume on Wednesday, but Pong said that people will have to wait until May 19 before traffic controls are fully lifted.

All lanes on Bade and Guangfu N roads have been closed since the incident, while barriers were placed on Dunhua S Road, Nanjing E Road, Beining Road and Dongning Road — all of which lead to the intersection — forming a block, the Taipei Department of Transportation said.

The lane on Guangfu N and S roads closest to the sidewalk will be open to microcars, which will be allowed to take right turns, starting at 6am today, the department said.

However, as vehicles will not be allowed to pass through the intersection, drivers are advised to take detours on Dunhua N and S roads, Donxing Road or Keelung Road, the department said.

Drivers headed to Guangfu S Road via the Civic Boulevard overpass are advised to stay on Civic Boulevard before turning left on Dongning Road, the department said.

When asked if the contractors have plans to compensate nearby businesses that might suffer losses due to the closures, CECI Engineering Consultants said that the roads are open to pedestrians, adding that the losses suffered by stores are difficult to determine.

Additional reporting by Huang Chien-hau

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