Second tunnel boring machine launched for Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel project (with photo)

The Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel project is in full swing with the launching of its second tunnel boring machine "Nuwa", following the first one "Oshin" launched in March.

Speaking at the East Tunnel Boring Machine launching ceremony today (May 20), the Director of Drainage Services, Mr Lau Ka-keung, said implementation of the $3 billion project would raise the overall flood protection level of the drainage system in the northwestern part of Hong Kong Island upon completion.  

The 11-kilometre-long Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel extends from Tai Hang to Cyberport.  Thirty-four intakes will be constructed in Wan Chai, Central and Western Districts to intercept and convey the run-off in mid-hill through the intakes' dropshafts and the connecting tunnel for discharge into the sea near Cyberport.  This will alleviate  flooding  in the areas downstream.

"To strive for early commissioning of the project, two tunnel boring machines are deployed to construct the east and west section of the tunnel simultaneously.  Tunnel construction will be completed in early 2011 while the project will commission in 2012," Mr Lau said.

Construction of intakes has started in Wan Chai, Central and Western District.  Most of the intakes will be constructed with the Raise Boring Method to reduce construction nuisance to the public.  The contractor will build the tunnel first and a drilling reamer will then be installed inside the tunnel for carrying out subsequent dropshaft excavation works from the bottom upwards.  

"As the works are to be carried out underground, this method can confine the noise and dust within the dropshafts and tunnel. Since excavation materials will be collected in the tunnel during dropshaft construction, spoil disposal can  be carried out via the tunnel portals, thus reducing the construction traffic impact to the nearby road networks," said Mr Lau.

The project is hiring about 600 workers.  It is expected that the project will provide about 1,000 jobs  when construction activities reach their peak.  In 2009, the Drainage Services Department has awarded five major construction contracts totalling $700 million, which could create 400 jobs.  Another 15 contracts totalling $11 billion will be awarded before year end, and can provide another 4,000 jobs.

Ends/Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Issued at HKT 17:56


Director of Drainage Services, Mr Lau Ka-keung, officiates at the launching ceremony of the East Tunnel Boring Machine of Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel project today (May 20).