Nearly 3,000 jobs will be created over the next five months through more than 30 construction projects costing $4 billion, including infrastructure work around the Disneyland site. Director of Civil Engineering Dr Lau Ching-kwong said: 'To help alleviate the unemployment problems in Hong Kong, the department will try to expedite other construction projects apart from the Disney project. 'Over the next five years, the department will award about 160 contracts with a value of $20 billion, creating 7,000 jobs.' Dr Lau said more than 30 consultancy and construction projects worth about $4 billion would be awarded before March, creating almost 3,000 jobs. 'Most of the 3,000 jobs will be for labourers, but there will also be some management posts,' he said. Two of the projects, valued at $1.3 billion, will have contracts awarded before the end of the year and create 840 jobs. One is a $100 million contract for site formation in Long Wah Street, Western, and the protection of a 100-year-old banyan tree there. Dr Lau said the other projects awarded before March would create 620 jobs, and a further 1,500 jobs would be created by the Disney infrastructure development project. Dr Lau announced yesterday that that contract, for $2.08 billion, had been awarded to the China State Construction Engineering Corporation, Maunsell Consultants Asia and Earthasia. The three will design, build and monitor the infrastructure around Disneyland at Penny's Bay on Lantau Island. Dr Lau said construction would start tomorrow after the reclamation of 77 hectares of land at the future theme park site was completed one month ahead of schedule. The reclamation of the remaining 123 hectares of land needed for the theme park is expected to be completed by the end of next year, allowing the department to hand over the site to Disney in 2003 to build the park. The construction work covered in the contract awarded yesterday, including roads leading to the theme park, part of a water recreation centre, and hard and soft landscape work, would have to be completed by April 2005. To fit Disney's requirements, the design of the public facilities such as lampposts and public piers will be in an antiquated style, while road signs will be in purple, not the green or blue used in other parts of Hong Kong. Dr Lau said the department had set up an environmental protection office and appointed independent experts to monitor the cumulative impact of the construction work on the environment of northeast Lantau. With regard to fishermen's complaints that the Disney reclamation work had killed fish in Ma Wan and Cheung Sha Wan culture zones, the department said experts from universities had been appointed in August to investigate.