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Earthquake prompts review of Taiwan high speed rail project


DESIGN OF the £8bn Taiwan High Speed Rail Project is under scrutiny following last month's major earthquake in the centre of the island (NCE 30 September).

The 345km line, between Taipei in the north and Tsoying in the south, includes 257km of viaducts and bridges. Last month's earthquake causedseveral similarly designed road structures to collapse as ground movements were much larger than allowed for in the country's design codes.

A spokeswoman for Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation told NCE: 'THSRC's project teams are reviewing the impact of the earthquake with regards to the effects of seismic forces actually measured and the effects of ground movement.'

She added: 'The northern and southern contracts will not be affected and work on these will proceed as programmed. But the contracts in the central area where the earthquake occurred require further study.'

The new railway, which will run at a maximum speed of 350km/h, was expected to be complete by 2005. The spokeswoman said it was still too early to say how the design review would impact the project's cost and programme.

Civils work on the project also includes 48km of tunnels and 40km of cut and fill. Tenders for the ten major contracts are being assessed.

British consultant Mott MacDonald heads an international consortium which will act as independent checker and site engineer for the scheme.

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