Hong Kong’s Lantau to Tuen Mun link to be delayed
Highways Department blames ‘high technical requirements’ for the HK$45 billion project’s delay
A nine-kilometre dual carriageway linking Lantau and Tuen Mun in the northwest New Territories will fail to meet its completion deadline, the Highways Department revealed yesterday without indicating how long the project would be pushed back.
In a statement released last night, the Highways Department cited a “complex construction environment” and “high technical requirements” as reasons for the HK$45 billion project’s delay.
The southern section of the Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok Link, a 1.6-kilometre bridge linking north Lantau coast and an artificial island to the east of the airport, was scheduled to open alongside the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge at the end of 2017.
The viaduct would allow traffic to Zhuhai and Macau to join the North Lantau Highway without the need to pass through the airport island. Authorities stressed the delay would not impact the commissioning date of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.
The statement explained the contractor was under a “tight construction programme” to cast 2,600 pieces of deck segments for the structure. Extra precaution was also needed as construction was performed over a sea navigation channel, two railway lines and a road highway.
Meanwhile, the northern section involves a five-kilometre sub-sea tunnel which, when complete, would be the longest of its kind in Hong Kong.
But high water pressure and harder than normal rocks below the seabed added to the difficulties and only workers with specialised training are able to undertake the project, according to the Highways Department.
Due for completion by late 2018, the project would provide a second road link to Hong Kong International Airport, which is currently accessible only via the Lantau Link.
Traffic to the aviation hub descended into chaos in October last year after a barge crashed into the Lantau Link’s Kap Shui Mun bridge. The accident triggered an alarm that closed off both the Kap Shui Mun and Tsing Ma bridges, effectively cutting Lantau and the airport off from the rest of the city.
The new link would also significantly reduce the travelling distance to northwest New Territories by some 22 kilometres and provide a crucial gateway for Hung Shui Kiu, which has been earmarked as the site for a new town development.