West Island Line, Hong Kong, Republic of China, Hong Kong
The MTR West Island Line (WIL) is an extension of the existing 13km long Island Line which connects Sheung Wan, Western District to Chai Wan, Eastern District, Hong Kong. The 3km long extension will be an underground railway line that will run from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town, the two western townships of Hong Kong.
The railway project was officially launched with a ground-breaking ceremony held in August 2009. It is anticipated to be completed in 2014. The project cost is estimated at HK$15.4bn ($1.98bn) as per 2008 pricing.
West Island Line extension project background
The WIL project was proposed with the aim of providing the growing Western District with a safe and reliable railway system. The district is among the few remaining urban areas that are not served by railway. When the project is complete, people from Kennedy Town will be able to reach Sheung Wan in eight minutes. Road transport for the same journey takes 15 to 25 minutes during peak hours.
It is anticipated that the improved transport network will create new business opportunities in the district and will significantly increase employment opportunities.
In August 2006, a revised project proposal of the original WIL scheme was submitted by MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL), the owner and operator of Island Line, to the Hong Kong SAR Government. The project scheme was first gazetted in October 2007.
It was again gazetted in September 2008 and January 2009 with amendments and corrections. The scheme was finally authorised under the Railways Ordinance in March 2009.
Funding arrangements for the construction of the new line were approved in May 2009 and construction work commenced in July 2009.
MTR's West Island Line details
The West Island Line project includes construction of a 3km long electrified double-track underground railway system with three new stations at Sai Ying Pun, the University of Hong Kong and Kennedy Town.
Apart from the underground railway system, the project comprises re-provisioning, remedial and improvement works of some existing public facilities. Some of the public facilities that are to be re-provisioned during the construction include the Centre Street Market West Block, Kennedy Town Swimming Pool, David Trench Rehabilitation Centre and Hong Kong Central Dental Laboratory.
Sands Street and the Centennial Campus of the University of Hong Kong will be furnished with lifts and escalators.
Lines, routes and alignments of the new 3km long extension
The new line will start at Sheung Wan Station of the Island line and end at the new station to be built at Kennedy Town. It will pass through two new stations at Sai Ying Pun and the University of Hong Kong.
Both Sai Ying Pun Station and Hong Kong University Station will have six entrances, while Kennedy Town Station will have three station entrances.
Construction works on the extension to the existing 13km Island Line
The construction works primarily involve excavation for the tunnels, stations and pedestrian passages. Some of the existing public facilities will be reprovisioned while some will be temporarily relocated.
Tunnel boring machines (TBM) and the drill and blast method are being used in the construction of tunnels as per the prevailing geological conditions.
Sai Ying Pun to Kennedy Town tunnels, Sai Ying Pun Station and Hong Kong University Station are being constructed using drill and blast methods, while the section between Sai Ying Pun and Sheung Wan is being excavated using TBM. The excavation of this section commenced in September 2011 by the TBM Xi Shi.
The Kennedy Town Station will be constructed by cut and cover method in a bottom-up approach.
Major contractors involved in Hong Kong's rail project
A joint venture comprised of Dragages, Maeda Corporation and Bachy Soletanche Group (BSG) was awarded the contract to build eastbound and westbound running tunnels between Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun stations in October 2009.
The HK$1.6bn ($206.4m) contract also comprises demolition of the existing overrun tunnel at Sheung Wan Station and construction of two passenger entrances at Sai Woo Lane.
In March 2010, two major civil contracts worth HK$6.1bn ($785.8m) were awarded by MTR Corporation. Gammon Nishimatsu WIL joint venture was contracted for the construction of Sai Ying Pun and Hong Kong University stations, Sai Ying Pun to Kennedy Town tunnel and a barging point and a fully enclosed conveyor belt at Shing Sai Road.
The other contract was awarded to Gammon Construction Limited. It includes construction of Kennedy Town Station and an overrun tunnel at Kennedy Town.
Other contractors involved in the project include Paul Y. Construction Company, Sun Fook Kong Construction and Lam Geotechnical. Yee Sun Garden will look after tree transplantation.