The Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit project suffered its second cave-in in less than a week yesterday, when the road at a major intersection collapsed, leaving a three-meter wide hole in the heavily traveled street.
The hole, which occurred above construction on the project's Red Line was filled and covered with metal planks by 8 p.m., and traffic was re-routed around the depression in the road to prevent massive traffic jams.
The cause of the cave-in was not immediately known.
For the beleaguered Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp., it was the fourth cave-in in two years. Last Tuesday, another road in Kaohsiung collapsed, leaving a massive crater, when ground water surged through a tunnel restraining wall on the project's Orange Line and eroded support for the road above.
The repeated blunders have shattered the people's confidence in the project.
In an interview with TVBS reporter, a furious Kaohsiung resident said, "If I could, I would move out of this hopeless place and immigrate to another country."
Kuomintang Lwo Shih-hsiung suspected that the governing Democratic Progressive Party was covering up the situation, accusing it and the KRTC of commencing construction before the final blueprints were approved.
He suggested that the construction be halted, but acting Mayor Ye Chu-lan said last night that would not be beneficial. She promised a more detailed explanation today.
The collapse came not long after Premier Frank Hsieh and Vice President Annette Lu visited the site and applauded the workers on a job well done in their effort to meet the deadline to open passenger service next year.
Lu said she would organize a private supervisory alliance to ensure the quality and safety of the mass rapid transit system.
Noting that the Kaohsiung MRT project has been hit by a spate of serious accidents since construction began in 2001, Lu said the planned supervisory alliance will review the MRT railway's design, construction methods and groundwater hydrology at the construction site and come up with improvement proposals.