Hong Kong University Station

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Hong Kong University Station (traditional Chinese: 香港大學站) is one of the 3 stations on West Island Line(WIL), a 3-km underground extension of the Island Line[1] . The rest of the stations are Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town. The construction of the station commenced in March 2010 and will complete in mid 2014.[2] After the operation of the station, people can reach Central and Tsim Sha Tsui from University of Hong Kong(HKU) within 7 and 13 minutes respectively.

Contents

Layout and Construction

Layout

The station is built beneath Pok Fu Lam Road with 5 entrances.[1]

  • A: Haking Wong Building of The University of Hong Kong
  • B1: Whitty Street, Queen's Road West
  • B2: Hill Road, South lane
  • C1: Pok Fu Lam Road, The Belcher's
  • C2: Belcher's Street, The Westwood

Since HKU is on the hillside, there will be a marked level difference between the station concourse and the entrances.Therefore Lifts, instead of escalators will be built to overcome this marked level and provide convenient access for passengers.

HKU will have direct access to 2 entrances. Entrance A at the former Haking Wong stairs, and Entrance C1 opposite the future Centennial Campus. Entrance A will be linked to the future University Street and Entrance C1 will be connected to the Centennial Campus via a new footbridge.[2]

Drill & Blast

consturction site of entrance A
The construction works comprise of excavation for the running tunnels, stations and pedestrian entrances. Since most of the line is in rock, excavation is done by blasting. Advanced shafts are used for construction of entrances. The use of explosives is governed by the Dangerous Goods Ordinance and subject to the stringent control by the Mines Division of Civil Engineering and Development Department, the Fire Services Department and the Hong Kong Police Force. Suitably qualified professionals are employed for supervising the blasting operations.[3]

On monitoring the impact of construction work and blasting process, monitoring markers are placed near the construction site. MTR visits regularly to record the readings of the markers. Some markers are placed on the footbridge connecting Haking Wong building and Pokfulam Road; some are placed near the bus stop of Haking Wong building.

Changes on the physical appearance of HKU campus

The Banyan Tree being transplanted
school badge and 'The University of Hon Kong used to on the wall
Now: nothing on the wall

Construction of the station A at West gate causes several changes on the physical appearance of campus.

1. The staircase of Haking Wong Building was demolished and replaced by a temporary footbridge.

2. Two Chinese Banyan trees near the Haking Wong are affected. The Banyan tree which is named ET15 was fallen while another one(ET16) has been transplanted to car park spaces near HKU West Gate on June 5,2010 (World Environment Day). [4].

3. The school badge ;big Chinese and English characters of ‘The University of Hong Kong’ was hung on the wall near car park but are removed now.

Environmental Issues

Construction of railways affects the environment surrounding HKU and Shek Tong Tsui in following aspects: [5]


Air-borne Noise

Noises are produced by the use of powered mechanical equipment for various construction activities, including site possession, building demolition, excavation, backfilling.

To minimize noise pollution, noise control measures have been incorporated into the construction method design, such as use of quieter construction equipment, movable and temporary noise barriers,full enclosure. MTR adopted a new blasting technique that water is used as noise insulating agents, absorbing noise during blasting. Besides, MTR spent over 10million on installing noise insulation fabric on the construction site of shafts and entrances. [6].

Visual and Landscape

Over 400 trees will be cut and over 100 trees will be transplanted for the construction of WIL. Some are old and valuable tress.MTR proposed to fell 2 Chinese Banyan Tree near Haking Wong building. Tree perseveration is always the top priority of HKU so HKU tried every effort to preserve two trees. After lengthily negotiation with MTR, the Banyan tree which is named ET15 was removed while another one(ET16) has been transplanted. MTR promises the replantation of 700 trees in 6 areas after the completion of construction work, including King George V Memorial Park. [6].

Waste

Waste types generated are mainly the construction and demolition materials, e.g mud ,stones. To lessen the heavy traffic flow in the district, a 450-m completely closed conveying belt is built on the construction site of Hong Kong University Station. [7]. It carries excavated spoil to barging point at Western District Public Cargo Works Areas which avoids the heavy loading of construction truck on the roads.

Water pollution and increased runoff

There is a risk of increasing sub-surface runoff by excavated spoil ,also by the water after cooling of machine and acting as noise insulating agent. If the excavated spoil enters the water table, it would cause water polluton as well.

Control measures are implemented on site runoff and drainage from the works areas, such as minimizing construction runoff, and on-site treatment of tunnelling wastewater prior to discharge. Good site management and housekeeping practices would also be in place to prevent any construction wastes and other construction-related materials from entering the public drainage system and coastal waters. Sewage effluent arising from the construction workforce would be managed through provision of portable toilets.

Naming Controversy

The name of station has long been controversy issues since the first proposal of WIL in 1970s.There are several proposed names for the station, including Hong Kong University station, Whitty Street station, Shek Tong Tsui station and Belcher station. Belcher station used to be the official name in 1990s after a residential area The Belcher's was built in that area. The name changed again to Hong Kong University Station in the proposal of WIL in 2006 by the request of HKU.[8] The argument presented by HKU is that the history of HKU is much longer than that of The Belcher’s.

The community in Shek Tong Tsui and Belcher’s residents are discontented with the naming. The name would put people under illusion that the station is exclusively designed for the interests of HKU. It seems to serve HKU students and staff.MTR, as public transport, should cater the needs of whole community instead of specific group of people..[9] Some also worried that the name to University may cause confusion with the existing University Station on East Rail Line.

Another wave of controversy is the conflicting idea of the station’s name as‘Hong Kong University station’ or simply as ‘University Station.’ After the construction of WIL, there will be two MTR stations surrounding universities in Hong Kong. One Is Hong Kong University Station near HKU; another one is existing University Station near Chinese University of Hong Kongn(CU). After merger ofKCR andMTR, station’s name cannot be overlapped. An internet user spread a rumor on forum that after completion of WIL, the name of existing University station will be given to the station near HKU while the station’s name near CU will be replaced by its previous name Ma Niu Shui.[10] A student from HKU created a facebook group to support this naming method.[11]The supporting argument is that HKU is the first and the oldest tertiary institution in Hong Kong. The rumor led to hot debates in forums between HKU student and CU students. CU students also responded with the creation of facebook to express their opposing stand. The claim of the groups is that ‘One Hong Kong, only one University Station’ .It should be belonged to CU.[12]

Some internet users responded with indifference as they thought that it was not the concern of general public. They considered this naming conflict as a rather meaningless competition between HKU students and CU students over the reputation and ranking of their schools.[13]

After the start of WIL construction in 2009, MTR officially announced the station’s name as Hong Kong University. The name is not exactly same as the official name of HKU (The University of Hong Kong).

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 MTR cooperation West Island Line
  2. 2.0 2.1 HKU Centennial Campus E-newsletter
  3. MTR-West Island Line-Project Details-What's New
  4. HKU E-news HKU to transplant tree on World Environment Day 04 June 201)
  5. MTR Cooperation Limited West Island Line Environment Assessment Executive Summary 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Orientadaily 港鐵西港島線砍樹逾四百棵 05 June 2010
  7. Wenweipao 港鐵西港島線工程 水緩衝爆破減噪音 09 Spetember 2010
  8. SingPao <「寶翠」「大學」爭命名>,17 Steptember 2010
  9. The Sun <地鐵西港島線11出入口 大學站命名掀爭議> 13 Steptember 2005
  10. Facebook group 一個香港.只有一個大學站
  11. Facebook group The name of the new MTR station near HKU should be: University Station
  12. Facebook group 大學站是永遠屬於中大的...港大狗唔好同我地爭
  13. 香港網絡大典 大學站爭議事件

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