CONSTRUCTION of Taipei MRT’s Circular Line has reached a new milestone with a groundbreaking ceremony for the Phase 2 North Section being co-hosted by Taipei City mayor, Mr Chiang Wa-an, and his New Taipei City counterpart, Mr Hou You-yi on March 18.

Crossing both Taipei City and New Taipei City, construction of the MRT Circular Line has been divided into four sections: Phase 1, which opened in January 2020, the Phase 2 South Section, the Phase 2 North Section and the Phase 2 East Section.

The Department of Rapid Transit Systems (Dorts) First District Project Office (1st DPO) says the contract for construction of the 3.23km-long initial stage of the North Section has been awarded to Hwang Chang Construction which made a bid of over $NT 17.3bn ($US 567m).

Bidding is underway for the other North and South section tenders, which have been divided into eight civil engineering section contracts and one electro-mechanical system contract. Central government approval is still awaited before design and construction work can begin on the East Section.

The initial part of the North Section, where the shield tunnelling method will be used, begins at a point just beyond Station Y20 (not included in the contract) on Luzhou District’s Zhongshan 1st Road and then proceeds to Station Y21, at the intersection of Zhongshan 1st and Jixian roads, where future interchange will be possible with the Zhonghe-Xinlu Line at its St Ignatius High School Station. The route of the Circular Line’s North Section then continues northwards along Jixian Road to Station Y23, in front of Wuhua Elementary School in New Taipei City’s Sanchong District, which was the location chosen for the groundbreaking ceremony.

Dorts says that the scale of construction on this section of the project is “enormous, with a high level of difficulty,” but is confident that these difficulties will be overcome by the project teams. When the North Section is completed, journey times between Taipei City and New Taipei City are expected to be significantly reduced, with the journey time between St Ignatius High School and Jiannan stations cut from 33 to 18 minutes, helping to encourage modal shift from private vehicles to public transport.

Chiang said that work on the North Depot contract had now begun, and the contract for Taipei Zoo - National Chengchi University on the South Section has been awarded, with construction is expected to start in June. He added that it is hoped that issues with the other five section contracts will be quickly resolved so that Phase 2 construction can “go into full swing”.

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