PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 October, 2000, 12:00am

I write on behalf on the beleaguered residents of Tai Mei Tuk, and other villagers along the Ting Kok Road in Tai Po.

For more than 18 months we have had to suffer the prolonged and disorganised works being conducted on behalf of the Territory Development Department (TDD) under the cover of improvement works to Ting Kok Road.

The whole project from Shuen Wan to Tai Mei Tuk is an absolute shambles of equipment, soil stockpiles and excavations. No one section of this contract has been fully completed to date.

Three sets of traffic diversions are permanently in operation, and have been since the start of the works. These diversions and associated traffic lights add 20 minutes to the journey to Tai Po. It is obvious to everybody that there is a total lack of supervision either by the contractor, or by consulting or government engineers.

The estimated dates for completion given on the signs change as frequently as the winning numbers of the Mark Six.

In fact, you would be wiser putting money on the Mark Six rather than accepting any date for completion of these works. The works outside my own house were set for completion in November 1999. This then changed to March 2001 and now stands at December 2000. I would estimate that the contractor has under estimated again by least three months.

On a serious level, the numerous and shoddy diversions of the cycle track now mean many cyclists prefer to ride on the busy road rather than going the signed 'off-road' way. Parts of the roadway that used to have the protection of crash barriers currently do not on new sections. In some areas, footpaths will flood after heavy rain, thus forcing pedestrians to walk on the road. Again, after heavy rain, the whole bay area along the road is a mass of polluted water caused by run-off from this site. There is not one settlement tank to be seen on the whole site, so again after heavy rains all the excavations are pumped directly into the bay or road drains, which then enter the bay. Due to the breakage of water pipes, water supplies have been interrupted on seven occasions (once for half a Sunday and on another occasion from 5pm to 11pm). These are in addition to scheduled stoppages.

Perhaps, one day, the TDD's chief engineer would like to leave the comfort of his air-conditioned office in North Point and see for himself what an absolute mess these works have created.

The situation I have described is a reflection of the construction industry in Hong Kong today, with projects underbid by contractors who in turn underresource the contract to reduce losses, while the engineers employed to 'supervise' the works look on helplessly. The people paying the salaries for all parties - most construction works being government department projects - get the maximum inconvenience and the environment takes a pounding.