The Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point (BCP), currently under construction, is the seventh land-based control point (Note) on the Hong Kong-Shenzhen boundary. Besides the BCP buildings, Hong Kong and Shenzhen have each constructed their own connecting road to link the new BCP with their road network. The connecting road on the Hong Kong side named Heung Yuen Wai Highway, undertaken by the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), will be opened to the public on May 26. This time, I have invited three CEDD colleagues to talk about the details of the Heung Yuen Wai Highway as well as the challenges during the course of construction.
The Heung Yuen Wai Highway is a dual 2-lane carriageway with a total length of 11 kilometres (km), including a 5.5km tunnel section (Lung Shan Tunnel and Cheung Shan Tunnel). The remaining road sections are viaducts and at-grade roads. Along the highway, there are four interchanges linking up with the Fanling Highway, Sha Tau Kok Road, local road at Ping Yeung and Lin Ma Hang Road respectively.
Chief Engineer of the CEDD, Mr YIP Hung-ping, Joe, says that with its official commissioning, the Heung Yuen Wai Highway will provide a convenient and direct access to the Fanling Highway for residents around Sha Tau Kok, Ta Kwu Ling and Ping Che to travel to and from Sheung Shui, Tai Po, Kowloon, etc. By then, it will take only eight minutes to commute from the Fanling Highway near Kau Lung Hang to Lin Ma Hang Road near Heung Yuen Wai, as opposed to the current approximate time of 24 minutes, saving quite a lot of journey time.
Effectively improving traffic in North District
Mr Joe YIP reckons that part of the existing traffic flow along Sha Tau Kok Road and Ping Che Road will be diverted to the Heung Yuen Wai Highway for access to the Fanling Highway, which will effectively alleviate the heavy traffic on the roads around Sha Tau Kok Road and Ta Kwu Ling and improve the traffic conditions in the North District, hence greatly facilitating the long-term economic and livelihood development in the area. When the Heung Yuen Wai BCP comes into operation in the near future, the Heung Yuen Wai Highway will be able to enhance cross-boundary passenger and cargo traffic as one of the cross-border transport infrastructure facilities for Hong Kong’s integration into the development of the Greater Bay Area.
Working at midnight
It is never easy to take forward a large-scale project and the construction of the Heung Yuen Wai Highway is no exception. According to Senior Engineer Mr CHAN Tze-ming, Michael, this is a project full of challenges, particularly the Fanling Highway Interchange, the largest of the four interchanges. To construct this interchange, the project team had to build viaducts over the busy Fanling Highway and East Rail Line. However, given that the Fanling Highway and the East Rail Line are two major traffic arteries for residents in the North District, the project team could only carry out the works in phases, within a tight working window of about two hours every midnight, in order not to affect the travel routine of the North District residents.
The largest tunnel boring machine
The 4.8km Lung Shan Tunnel, as one of the main sections of the Heung Yuen Wai Highway, will be the longest land-based road tunnel in Hong Kong, longer than our currently longest 4km Tate’s Cairn Tunnel. During construction, the project team used for the first time a tunnel boring machine with a diameter of 14.1m, weighing 3 200 tonnes, which is the largest earth pressure balance tunnel boring machine ever used in Hong Kong.
According to Senior Engineer Mr LEONG Yee-bong, Raymond, to cope with the geological conditions, drill-and-blast excavation and tunnel boring methods were mainly used to build the Lung Shan Tunnel. In end 2015, the tunnel boring works commenced. Using the large tunnel boring machine, the contractor started excavating the southbound tube from the north portal of the tunnel. The contractor also excavated a cavern at the Lau Shui Heung site using the drill-and-blast excavation method, allowing the tunnel boring machine to turn around in the cavern after breaking through the tunnel boring machine section of the southbound tube and begin the northbound tube excavation. It not only saved cost, but also shortened the construction period.
The Heung Yuen Wai Highway – a huge project
The entire Heung Yuen Wai Highway is a huge project and quite a number of new engineering techniques have been used to enhance construction efficiency. According to Senior Engineer Mr Michael CHAN, the northern section of the Sha Tau Kok Road includes viaducts and the Cheung Shan Tunnel with respective lengths of 3.3km and 0.7km. The viaducts were assembled from over 2 800 precast segments that weighed about 50 tonnes each. Using the drill-and-blast excavation method, about 320 000 tonnes of rocks and soil were excavated in constructing the Cheung Shan Tunnel. Nevertheless, it only took the contractor less than three years in total to complete the works.
I am pleased to see that with the outstanding engineering techniques of the project team, this major infrastructure project has been completed successfully. Not only can it improve the traffic in the North District and provide easy access for local residents, but it can also facilitate the connections between Hong Kong and the Mainland in long term, which will benefit our economy and people’s livelihood in the long term. During the initial period upon the opening of the highway, motorists will need some time to become familiar with the new driving routes. I would like to remind the public to drive with care and pay attention to the traffic and directional signs (For details, please see: Driving Guide). I hope that all sectors of society can share the fruits of this infrastructure.
19 May, 2019Back