Tunnellers break through ahead of schedule
By CLIFFORD LO
POLISH and Chinese tunnellers, who have spent a year working towards each other, met under Tsing Yi's central ridge yesterday, breaking through the west-bound tube of the Cheung Ching road tunnel two months ahead of schedule.
The tunnel is part of the Route 3 highway and will provide a key link between north Lantau and the future Chek Lap Kok airport to West Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
The breakthough occurred 14 months after work began on March 5, 1993, following the award of the $856 million contract to Dragages et Travaux Publics.
The east-bound tube of the tunnel is due to be blasted through later this month.
Speaking before detonating the charges to mark the breakthrough, Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang said: ''We have reached a significant milestone in the construction of our new highways.'' She said the breakthrough also illustrated the extremely good progress that was being made on the airport core programme.
The tunnels, to be completed by January 1997, will be the territory's widest. The twin tubes will each be 17 metres wide and accommodate three lanes of traffic - other tunnels in Hong Kong only have two lanes.
It is an important section of the Highways Department's Route 3 project, boring 1.6 kilometres through Tsing Yi to connect with the Tsing Ma Bridge via the Route 3 interchange.