The Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) is one step closer to completion with the breakthrough by contractor Leighton Contractors (Asia) Ltd, of the 7.6km drill-and-blast tunnel that runs through Tai Mo Shan between Tse Uk Tsuen and Shek Yam.
This is a major milestone for the XRL project as it means both the southbound and northbound tunnels stretching 12.4km from Tse Uk Tsuen in Yuen long to Nam Cheong in Kowloon are now connected. Furthermore, with the ongoing progress of the various tunnel sections, the total tunnel excavation for the 26km XRL project is now 80% complete.
Speaking at the breakthrough celebration held at Tsuen Wan Shek Yam works site on 24 March 2014, Projects Director of MTR Corporation Mr TC Chew said, “This is an exciting moment for the construction team of the Express Rail Link. Tunneling through the Sham Tseng Fault zones underneath Hong Kong’s highest peak Tai Mo Shan was one of the many significant challenges of this Project. The right blasting method, machinery and mitigation measures were selected based on detailed geo-technical study. We are pleased to see the successful completion of this part of the tunnel while keeping any impact of construction on the community to a minimum.
“This is the longest drill-and-blast rail tunnel in Hong Kong. The tunnel lining works will soon be completed to facilitate the installation of rail tracks, overhead lines, signalling systems and telecommunication systems. However, there are still significant challenges to overcome on this project and we will continue to work with our contracting partners and government departments to mitigate impacts,” added Mr Chew.
Mr Chew also thanks the contractor, Leighton Contractors (Asia) Ltd, the relevant government departments and the project team. “With our collaborative partnership and concerted efforts, we have overcome challenges one after another to bring the project one step closer to completion. I would also like to thank the local community for their immense support and understanding which enabled the works to proceed smoothly,” he said.
Excavation of 7.6km Tse Uk Tsuen to Shek Yam Tunnel commenced in November 2010. More than 1.72 million m3 of rock has been removed and about 282,000 m3 of concrete was poured for the tunnel linings and internal structures.
The XRL service will operate entirely in dedicated tunnels. Construction began in January 2010 and a wide range of different construction methods including “drill & blast”, “cut & cover” and “tunnel boring machine” have been adopted in different tunnel sections to cope with the varying ground conditions and tunnel profiles.