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Kwun Tong extension

Kwun Tong, Hong Kong




5 years




Hong Kong
Project achievements

Economy boosted

Jobs were created during construction and on the new line

Solved the problem

Provide faster transport route for an area previously only connected by road to Hong Kong Central

Used engineering skill

Build rail lines and train stations

Extend the Hong Kong metro system into the southern Kowloon peninsula

The Kwun Tong line extension (KTE) is a 2.6km long extension of the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR).

KTE runs from Yau Ma Tei station to a new terminus at Whampoa in the Kowloon area of Hong Kong. The line opened in October 2016 after five years’ construction work.

The scheme was designed to improve transport efficiency for people living in the densely populated Ho Man Tin and Whampoa areas of the city-state.

The new route has two stations. As well as the end-of-the-line stop at Whampoa, Ho Man Tin is a new interchange station in the Lo Lung Hang area. Ho Man Tin is currently the deepest station on the MTR.

The Ho Man Tin interchange has a direct rail link to Hong Kong’s central business district – also known as Central. Central is one of Hong Kong’s business and political nerve centres. Many global financial businesses have their headquarters in the area – it’s also the site of some key government buildings.

Before the line opened in 2016, local commuters had to rely on an overstretched bus service to get to Central. As roads were congested, the journey was often a slow process.

The MTR is known as one of the cleanest public transport systems in the world. Along with the rest of the network, handrails and escalators on the KTE are given a special anti-bacterial coating to cut down on spreading germs.

Kwun Tong extension

CivilEngineer Ayo Sokale talks to us about the Kwun Tong line extension, which became necessary due to huge community demand in Hong Kong. At the time of commission there were 107,000 people using the line daily.

Did you know …

  1. Despite its name, Ho Man Tin station is not in the Ho Man Tin area – it’s actually in the lesser-known Lo Lung Hang area, about 1km away.

  2. Ho Man Tin is the location for the Kowloon City law courts, the Hong Kong Eye Hospital and the Kowloon West police headquarters.

  3. The station had a number of artworks installed on the site, including the murals ‘Between nature and the city,’ and ‘FrogScape’. There’s also a sculpture called ‘Frogtopia Arch’.

Difference the project has made

The Kwun Tong extension provides a fast rail link for an area that previously relied on road transport. Commuters can now make what was often a slow journey by car or bus in a few minutes.

The scheme has cut traffic and congestion on roads in the area – reducing air pollution at the same time. The line runs on emission-free electric trains.

The extension created over 1,000 jobs during construction and permanent employment for around 160 workers on the new line.

How the work was done

Construction of the Kwun Tong line extension presented engineers with a number of major challenges.

Hong Kong’s largely urban nature meant there were man-made obstacles the project team had to negotiate. These included dockyard walls and the foundations of existing buildings.

Engineers excavated around some of the obstacles. Other buildings had to be reinforced to stop them collapsing as tunnelling work went on nearby.

Ground conditions were also challenging. The route went through areas of hard rock as well as ground that was soft – and so potentially unstable.

Engineers used tunnel boring machines for much of the scheme. Explosives were used to cut a channel through rock in some areas.

People who made it happen

  • Client: Hong Kong government
  • Consulting engineers: Arup

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