A number of large infrastructure projects have been launched in Hong Kong in recent years to promote the city’s economic development and enhance its competitiveness.
They include the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the expansion of Hong Kong International Airport to a three-runway system.
These mega-projects are giving engineers a host of challenges to overcome.
Highways Department Engineer Molly Kwan is a civil engineer. She oversees reclamation works for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
Height restrictions are one of the many difficulties she has encountered during construction.
She worked with the contractors to solve the problem, such as by adapting machinery to meet height requirements.
“I have participated in more than 50 civil engineering projects since I graduated in 1998. They range from small to mega-sized projects. Some are as small as designing a washroom and some are as huge as building a vehicular bridge. Of course, nothing can compare to the 150-hectare manmade island that I am now working on.”
When the bridge is completed the western region of the Pearl River Delta will be less than a three-hour commute from Hong Kong.
The bridge will bring substantial reductions in transportation cost and time. Cargo flow from the western delta region, Guangdong and Guangxi will be able to utilise the facilities of Hong Kong International Airport and Kwai Chung Container Ports.
This will enhance Hong Kong’s position as a trade and logistics hub. The connectivity brought about by the bridge will also benefit various sectors in Hong Kong, such as tourism, finance and commerce.
The Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link has been entrusted to the MTR Corporation.
Since 2011, Highways Department Senior Engineer Szeto Hon-yin has been monitoring the progress of the link’s tunnel excavation. He visits the link’s Shek Kong Emergency Rescue Siding and Stabling Sidings regularly and liaises between the MTRC and government departments.
He said the progress of tunnel excavation has been affected by complex geological factors.
“When the progress is delayed by such kinds of underground conditions, we discuss it with the MTR and urge them to undertake mitigation measures, such as increasing resources, manpower and buying more new machines to make up for the delay.”
The 26km rail line is vital to Hong Kong, as it will significantly reduce travel times to major Mainland cities.
It will play an unparalleled role in boosting social and economic ties between Hong Kong and the Mainland, creating medium and long term development opportunities.
Since 2010, Airport Authority Project Engineer Giselle Yip has worked on the Midfield Concourse Development, the Terminal 1 Enhancement and other projects at the airport.
She is now an engineer in the Third Runway Project Team responsible for the design and implementation of the runway’s electrical and mechanical services, including the new depot for the automated people mover, the Terminal 2 expansion, and the Third Runway Concourse Building.
She will utilise the experience gained from the Midfield Concourse project to enhance the construction management of the third runway in terms of safety, quality, cost and time control.
If works can start on schedule this year, the Third Runway Project can be completed in eight years.
Construction time is lengthy, as four years is needed for land formation alone, and works are taking place next to an operating airport which causes some restrictions.
However, the Third Runway Project will help strengthen Hong Kong’s status as an international and regional aviation hub and enhance the city’s overall competitiveness.
Building for the future