The Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel project has reached a milestone with the launch of its first tunnel boring machine, "Oshin".
Speaking at the tunnel boring machine launching ceremony today (March 6), the Director of Drainage Services, Mr Lau Ka-keung, said the $3 billion project would raise the overall flood protection level of the drainage system on northern Hong Kong Island.
The 11 kilometre-long Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel extends from Tai Hang to Cyberport. Thirty-four intakes will be constructed in Wan Chai and Central and Western Districts to intercept and convey the run-off in mid-hill for discharge into the sea near Cyberport. This will alleviate the flooding problem in the areas downstream.
"The construction sites are situated within the hub of the city and close to residential and commercial districts. This presents great challenges with the construction works. To shorten the construction period with a view to reducing construction nuisance to the public, the contractor is required under the contract to deploy two tunnel boring machines to carry out the tunnel construction simultaneously," Mr Lau said.
The first tunnel boring machine to be used for construction of the west tunnel at Cyberport has a diameter of 8m and is 170m long. Its operation is highly automated. The launching of the second tunnel boring machine for the east tunnel at Tai Hang is expected to take place in mid-2009.
"The project is now hiring about 400 workers. It is expected that the project will provide about 1,000 job opportunities when construction activities reach their peak levels. The DSD will continue to push ahead with infrastructural and minor works projects to ease the pressure in the employment market."
The Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel project is part of a comprehensive drainage improvement programme to solve the flooding problem on northern Hong Kong Island. The intercepting drains along Queen’s Road Central were completed last June, and a stormwater pumping station at the waterfront in Sheung Wan will be completed by the end of this month, before the 2009 rainy season. These measures will alleviate the flood risk in the Sheung Wan low-lying area. Upon completion of the Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel in 2012, flood protection on northern Hong Kong Island will be substantially improved.
Ends/Friday, March 6, 2009
Issued at HKT 17:57