Fresh safety fears halt work on new subway line

Updated: 2011-10-19 08:03

By Shi Jing (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - The Shanghai subway is in the spotlight again after metro authorities suspended construction on Line 12 amid rumors of unsafe work.

The controversy follows a rear-end crash on Line 10 last month in which 271 people were injured.

The Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision received a report on Oct 9, saying that the construction company had cut down the use of steel reinforcement cages during the construction of Longcao Station on Line 12. Shanghai Tunnel Engineering is building the new station.

A security guard at the construction site also told Shanghai news website that the number of steel reinforcement cages had been reduced.

The Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision asked the construction company to suspend building immediately. Shanghai Geotechnical Investigations and Design Institute was asked as a third party to examine the bored pile, where the steel reinforcement cages are usually placed.

The institute found that no steel reinforcement cage was missing, which indicated that the construction of the metro line met design requirements.

The institute will also conduct a more comprehensive examination on 10 percent of all the bored piles, the result of which will be released soon.

However, the subway authorities did not make it clear when construction will resume.

"It is hard to cut down the use of steel reinforcement cages during construction," said Lu Jinlong, deputy director of the Shanghai Research Institute of Building Science.

"For one thing, everything about this material - including diameter, mark and amount - will be written crystal clear in the working drawing.

"For another, the site must be examined by the construction company and the supervision institute.

"A security guard cannot judge whether the materials have been reduced during construction."

Meanwhile, the stock price of Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, which operates the metro lines, fell by 3.88 percent on Tuesday, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed 2.33 percent down.

The Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, which operates Line 10, admitted that train operators had failed to follow proper procedure while operating the trains manually, resulting in the crash on Sept 27.

Twelve people were removed from their posts or demoted over the accident, investigators said on Oct 6.

The Shanghai subway authorities announced at the beginning of this month that they would carry out a thorough investigation into security risks, screening out faults in facilities and operational procedures.