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HyD's response to media reports on HZMB Hong Kong Link Road and Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities reclamation works

     In response to media reports on March 28 about the reclamation works of the Hong Kong Link Road (HKLR) and the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF) of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), the Highways Department (HyD) responded today (March 30) as follows:

      Contract No. HY/2011/03 "Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge HKLR - Section between Scenic Hill and HKBCF" is a design and build contract.  The contractor is responsible for the detailed design of the reclamation works.  Non-dredged construction method for the reclamation works was specified as early as in the tendering stage in 2011 in order to reduce the impacts on the environment.

      Non-dredged reclamation design has been adopted overseas.  The assessment by engineering consultant shows that the non-dredged reclamation is a more environmental friendly and feasible construction method. The HyD has been monitoring the implementation of the project and construction works in accordance with the established procedures.  During the course of the seawall construction of the HKLR including the design and construction, the HyD has not imposed any additional pressure on the contractor.  After the tender had been awarded, the contractor was required to carry out detailed engineering design and construction using the non-dredged method in accordance with the requirements of the contract. The contractor engaged a professional engineering consultancy company to carry out the design in accordance with the relevant requirements of the contract.  The design was checked by another independent professional engineering consultancy company appointed by the contractor and then examined and approved by the engineering  consultant appointed by the HyD.  In addition, due to the anticipated subsequent residual settlement of reclaimed land, the detailed design of the reclamation submitted by the contractor has taken into account the corresponding design considerations for the construction of underground drains and pipelines at reclamation area.

      After the incident of the seawall lateral extension at the end of 2014, the contractor submitted a plan of enhancement measures to the HyD in accordance with the contract requirements to strengthen the affected sections of seawall and carried out the strengthening works at their own cost.  The contractor is clearly aware of their contractual obligations and did not make a claim to the HyD due to the incident.

      The reclamation works for the HKBCF were largely completed by end 2016.  At present, the contractor is placing the remaining small amount of seawall rock armours.  In fact, the strengthening works with cement for the larger steel cells' outward stretching has been completed, and the outward stretching of the steel cells' top has also become more and more stable.  The consultant has carried out a detailed assessment and concluded that the seawalls are structurally safe.  The surcharge preloading under the reclamation works for the HKBCF has been completed.  Surcharge preloading was not required above some areas already strengthened with cement to achieve their design criteria for handing over the sites to the superstructure contractors for their construction works.  As designed like other reclamation works, the newly reclaimed land will undergo residual settlement, i.e. the residual settlement not exceeding 500mm within the coming 50 years, which is normal and has been anticipated during the design stage.  These have also been considered thoroughly in the design and construction stages for the superstructure works.

      As of now, the contractors under the HKBCF project submitted about 140 claims for money and/or extension of time with the claim amount of approximately $ 3.4 billion. Under the HKLR project, the contractors submitted 84 claims for money and/or extension of time with the claim amount of approximately $ 2.5 billion.  The total claim amount under the two projects is about $ 5.9 billion which is not the amount of more than $ 30 billion reported by the media.

      It is the responsibility of the contractors to complete the works within the specified time and cost as required in the construction contract.  In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the contractor may submit a claim according to the terms of the contracts, and substantiate with sufficient justification and information.  The consultant appointed by the HyD will carefully and independently assess the claim and then submit it to the HyD for consideration.  The HyD will objectively and reasonably scrutinize the assessment of the contractors' claims in order to ensure that it is accepted based on sufficient justification and the terms of the contracts.  If the contractors have any objection to the assessment of the claim, they should provide more information and justification for further assessment.  With respect to the monetary claims submitted by the contractors, both HKLR and HKBCF projects have reserved sufficient contingency sum to deal with the claims.

      Furthermore, the HyD would like to clarify that the Director of Highways never met with the contractor to suggest seeking additional funding from the Legislative Council to increase the approved project estimate of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project after the Chief Executive election as alleged in the the media report.

Ends/Thursday, March 30, 2017