Construction Post takes a look at the project the government hopes will alleviate traffic congestion in Central and Wanchai
It’s impossible not to notice the heavy civil engineering work along the northern waterfront of Hong Kong Island.
You see it when taking the Star Ferry at Central, at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Conference Centre in Wanchai and when you stroll along the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter.
There’s the temporary reclamation, the heavy earthwork support in deep excavations, the barges, the tower cranes and other construction equipment.
When completed in 2017, the controversial Central-Wanchai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link should alleviate traffic congestion along Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road and Gloucester Road corridor.
As a bonus, the land formed from reclamation would be developed into a “world class waterfront promenade for public enjoyment” according to the government.
The entire project is being implemented under two closely related projects, the Wan Chai Development Phase II under the Civil Engineering and Development Department and the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link by Highways Department.
The main structure for one section of the bypass has already been built, from Two International Finance Centre to Central Government Offices at Tamar, under the Central Reclamation III contract from 2003 to 2012.
That reclamation contract was carried out only after the government prevailed in a 2004 judicial challenge over a dispute on further reclamation in Victoria Harbour.
In 2009, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved funds totalling HK$28.1 billion at money-of-the-day prices for the bypass and corridor.
It looks like that sum may not be enough.
The government will be going cap-in-hand to the legislators next month for more funds to complete the project, according to a recent agenda paper of Legco’s Panel on Transport.
How much will the government ask for?
The earlier Central Reclamation III project may offer a clue.
In 2002, the government secured funds totalling HK$3.56 billion for the project.
Six years later in 2008, the government was forced to go back to Legco to increase the approved project estimate by HK$2.2 billion to 5.76 billion, a whopping increase of 62 percent.
Part of the increase was to pay for protection works consisting of diaphragm walls and a top slap to enable future completion of the bypass underneath, so as to avoid opening up the land for construction of the bypass at Central.
The rest of the increase was for “higher-than-expected contract price fluctuations.
Last month over several days, Construction Post took a look from suitable vantage points at work in progress.
The western end of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (opposite the IFC Mall) under construction by Leighton Contractors (Asia) as part of Highways Department contract for the interchange connecting the bypass to the road network at Central (Danny Chung)
Workers on the interchange contract at Central for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (Danny Chung)
Steel reinforcement fixing for the top slab at the Central-Wan Chai Bypass tunnel at Central (Danny Chung)
The section of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass tunnel near the temporary footbridge to the Star Ferry Pier in Central (Danny Chung)
The structure for a section of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass tunnel has already been built under the contract for the Central Reclamation Phase III. On the bottom right of the photo, one can see the tunnel that was built by Leighton-China State-Van Oord Joint Venture (Danny Chung)
Construction work for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass at a location west of the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre in Wan Chai. Chun Wo-Leader Joint Venture is responsible for the reclamation and the bypass in the water channel under the convention centre while China State -Leader Joint Venture is responsible for land formation and the bypass west of the convention centre (Danny Chung)
One special contract for the Central – Wan Chai Bypass was the installation of Asia’s largest precast unit for the bypass over the MTRC’s Tsuen Wan Line carried out by Gammon-Leader Joint Venture in July this year (Danny Chung)
Looking east from the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre – land formation in progress for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (Danny Chung)
Chun Wo-China Railway Group Joint Venture is in charge of construction of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass east of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Danny Chung)
Construction of the reprovisioned Star Ferry pier as part of the works for the Central-Wanchai Bypass (Danny Chung)
Temporary reclamation and deep excavation either side of the Cross Harbour Tunnel for construction of the Central-Wanchai Bypass being carried out by China State Construction Engineering (HK). The section under the Cross Harbour Tunnel will be a mined tunnel (Danny Chung)
Closer view of the deep excavation of the temporary reclamation for construction of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (Danny Chung)
The view from above – temporary supports for the deep excavation for construction of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (Danny Chung)
Temporary reclamation for construction of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass east of the Cross Harbour Tunnel within the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter. China State Construction Engineering (HK) was awarded another contract in March 2013 for the section of bypass underneath where the yachts are in this photo (Danny Chung)
Temporary reclamation and excavation for the bypass in Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter near Tin Hau and beyond, the works for the Island Eastern Corridor Link at North Point. As mentioned in the preceding photo, China State Construction Engineering (HK) under a separate contract will form temporary reclamation where the yachts are moored in this photo for construction of the bypass (Danny Chung)
The temporary reclamation site at Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter appears jam packed with construction machinery in this photo (Danny Chung)