Contractors Criticised As Delays Hit Tunnel

March 22, 2017

NewsStandOnline.Net (22-March-2017): An ambitious scheme to build Hong Kong’s deepest and longest subsea road tunnel will be delayed by at least two years due to unforeseen ground conditions, and the contractor, Bouygues, has been sharply criticised for its tardy response to the “complicated technical problems”.

Originally scheduled for completion at the end of 2018, the 4.8km northern section of the Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok Link (TM-CLKL) is now predicted to be finished no sooner that 2020 because the discovery of stone columns necessitated a realignment of the tunnel to protect the huge tunnel boring machines (TBMs) deployed.

In a statement on Friday 17 March the Highways Department of Hong Kong revealed the problems and criticised the contractor for having taken “many months” to come up with a feasible plan in response.

Contractors Criticised As Delays Hit Tunnel

Technical difficulties facing the project are putting the construction programme “under high pressure”, the department said.

France’s Bouygues Construction won the $2.3bn (HK$18.2bn) contract to build the subsea link in 2013 through two subsidiaries, Dragages Hong Kong and Bouygues Travaux Publics.  Bouygues is responsible for the design and construction of a pair of subsea tunnels, each 14m in diameter, that together comprise the road link.

The link will go under the South China Sea from Tuen Mun in the north to a new artificial island, housing the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF), off Hong Kong International Airport.  At the time Bouygues called it the largest design-build contract ever awarded in Hong Kong.  US engineer Aecom is resident engineer on the project.