John Blackwood, Atkins’ director for transport in Asia Pacific, said: “We’ve been working with MTRC for over 40 years but it’s always a thrill to see a new line come into operation, providing significant benefits to the community along the alignment.”
The new line runs in a combination of underground sections and on elevated structures, with five stations in total. Atkins was appointed by the MTR Corporation to provide the detailed design for two elevated new stations at Ocean Park and Wong Chuk Hang, 1.9km of new elevated viaduct, a new 247m bridge spanning the Aberdeen Channel Bridge, noise barriers, widening of a major open nullah for drainage, slope works, complex utility diversions and other associated works.
“As the South Island Line is an elevated railway on the densely populated Hong Kong Island, it was a particularly challenging project as it is becoming progressively more difficult to build above ground railway lines in Hong Kong,” added John.
Stakeholder engagement was a key success factor for the project. One of the key challenges was to ensure an optimal design whilst recognising stakeholders’ requirements, both during and after construction. Another key aspect was to ensure that the visual impacts of the above ground structures were sensitively treated. The noise barrier design is fully integrated with the overhead line and trackside auxiliary system which allows a noticeable reduction in the overall width and height of the railway viaduct. This minimises the disturbance to the existing properties along the alignment. Reduced steelwork, structural envelope and maintenance requirement for the viaduct led to significant cost and time savings during the construction.
Lee Ieronimo, Atkins’ project manager for South Island Line, said: “I can see the transformation we are bringing to the local community in Wong Chuk Hang every day. I’m extremely proud to be part of the team to bring this transformation and convenient travel means to the local community and visitors alike.”
In 2014, another Atkins-designed railway project – MTR’s Island Line extension to Western District – was officially opened. The 3-km railway extension of Island Line from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town provides a more convenient transportation for the commuters living and working in the Western District. After the commencement of its service, on average 200,000 passengers are using its 3 stations daily.