Proposal to cover Cross Harbour Tunnel Plaza
Barely three years after completion of its landmark teaching hotel near its campus in Hung Hom, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is now looking to further spread its wings, this time across the entrance to the Cross Harbour Tunnel.
Chinese newspaper Oriental Daily News last week reported last PolyU president Timothy Tong Wai-cheung as saying the university recently opened discussions with the government on the possibility of covering the toll booth area with a deck.
The reason was to contain the pollution arising from the traffic and channel it for release elsewhere.
The area of the deck would then be used for greening purposes and be open to the public.
That was not all however, according to the Oriental Daily.
“Well, we do have a selfish motive,” Cheung was quoted as saying.
Part of the deck would be used to build a sports hall and similar recreational facilities.
In response to enquiries by Construction Post, PolyU division head for media and community relations Wilfred Lai confirmed the university has recommended a green deck to cover the Cross Harbour Tunnel Plaza to connect its campus and the MTR Corporation’s Hung Hom Station.
“The university has set up a taskforce to study the feasibility of this project,” Lai said.
However at this conceptual stage, no further information or sketch design was available.
It is unclear just how large the deck would be.
Currently there is a footbridge connecting Hung Hom Station to the university while another footbridge under Cheong Wan Road runs over the toll booths and which connects the station to Tsimshatsui East.
Assuming the area of the plaza between the two footbridges is covered by the green deck, according to measurement by the government’s GeoInfo Map website, the area involved would be 15,218.4 square metres (163,811 square feet).
Just how the deck would be built while maintaining heavy traffic flow underneath would be a tricky problem for the lucky contractor who wins the job.
The footbridge to PolyU has five column supports while the Cheong Wan Road footbridge has seven column supports.
Assuming columns are in the design for the deck, that would necessitate piling for foundations and subsequent column construction with all the associated temporary works in the middle of the plaza area, an unappealing prospect for motorists looking to use the tunnel.
The cost of the green deck is also another unknown.
While a different animal, the record for cost control at the teaching hotel premises for its School of Hotel and Tourism Management was not exactly reassuring.
The final cost for the teaching hotel, named Hotel ICON, came in at HK$1.3 billion compared to the initial estimate of HK$500 million when the hotel plan was announced in October 2005.
The reason was due to upgrading the hotel from 3-star to 5-star, changes in project requirements and construction cost increases.