Tug tows tunnel tube into position
By KEITH WALLIS
CONSTRUCTION of the third harbour crossing will begin in earnest today when contractors sink the first 33,000-tonne tube segment on to the seabed off Sai Ying Pun, Western.
The delicate 24-hour sinking operation will begin at 4 pm when sea water is pumped into two specially built ballast tanks fixed to the roof of the 113-metre-long unit, one of 12 that will form the Western Harbour Crossing.
The Japanese construction joint venture, Kumagai Gumi/Nishimatsu, is using a satellite global-positioning system to ensure the unit is precisely located on the seabed.
Four tugs from Hong Kong Salvage and Towage towed the unit through rush-hour ferry traffic yesterday morning from a holding area in Tseung Kwan O, where temporary ballast tanks and a control tower had been fitted.
The unit is one of four which have been built at a former quarry in Shek O. The second section is expected to be towed from Tseung Kwan O to Sai Ying Pun early next week.
All four will be sunk within the next two weeks.
Further sinkings will be co-ordinated with the formation of the immersed-tube tunnel for the airport railway over the next two years.
The $5.7-billion, two-kilometre Western Harbour Crossing will connect Sai Ying Pun with the west Kowloon reclamation and form the southern section of the three-lane Route 3 to China. The project is due to be completed by June 1997.