For discussion EC(96-97)28
on 1 July 1996


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Highways Department-

1 Chief Engineer

(D1) ($80,450 - $85,400)


The Chief Highways Engineer/New Territories (CHE/NT)(D1) heading the District and Maintenance (D&M) Division of the New Territories (NT) Regional Office of the Highways Department (HyD) cannot cope effectively with the growing workload and span of control of the post.

2. We propose to split the D&M Division into two divisions on a geographical basis, namely, New Territories East (NTE) and New Territories West (NTW) Divisions, and to create one post of Chief Engineer (CE)(D1) to head one of these two divisions. The existing CHE/NT will head the other division.


3. The HyD has three regional offices, namely, Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories. A Government Engineer (D2), designated as Regional Highways Engineer (RHE), heads each Regional Office and, inter alia, supervises maintenance of existing roads of the region through its D&M Division headed by a Chief Engineer (D1) designated as Chief Highways Engineer (CHE).the planning, design and construction of new roads within the region through the Capital Works Section.. The existing organisation chart of the HyD showing the three Regional Offices isthe NT Regional Office are at Enclosure 1.

4. The CHE of the NT Regional Office designated as CHE/NT is responsible, as in the case of other CHEs, for the regular maintenance of the highway network and the associated drainage and slopes; the reconstruction and rehabilitationof aged roads; the design and construction of minor highway improvements; the implementation of traffic management schemes designed by the Transport Department; the co-ordination and control of utility road opening works; and for providing highway engineering advice and road construction services to both government and private developments. In addition he implements the programme on rural road improvement works under the Rural Planning and Improvement Strategy (RPIS). The existing job description for the CHE/NT is at Enclosure 2.

5. Over the years, work in the NT Regional Office has grown substantially both in scale and scope and has become more complex due to rapid development in new towns and rural areas, changing traffic patterns and higher public expectations. The following table shows the increases in workload of the three regional offices since the establishment of the HyD in 1986

Hong Kong Kowloon New

1986 1995 1986 1995 1986 1995

Total lane length (Km)




1 089

1 270


1 465

2 530


Expenditure under recurrent
maintenance and CWRF block vote










Length of Expressways maintained (Km)







Number of staff of senior professional rank







Number of road openings

8 688

17 293


6 636

22 997


5 486

16 283


6. The above comparison shows that the workload of the three regional offices that the workload of the CHE/NT is now roughly equal to the workload of the other two CHEs put together. The addition of supporting staff cannot help towards relieve his increased workload. This is because in directing maintenance and road improvement works, the CHE/NT has to carry out final technical vetting of projects personally as he is ultimately responsible as Government's representative in the contracts. He also has to set prioritiesprioities among competing bids for expenditure. It requires a directorate officer to carry out these duties which cannot be delegated to his subordinates As a result, his work on controlling and approval function increases proportionally with more projects and higher expenditure.

7. In addition to having a higher rate of growth of workload, the CHE/NT has extra responsibilities compared with the other two CHEs. About 85% of our expressway network is within the NT region. The CHE/NT therefore approves and controls nearly all expressway works within the territory. Work on expressways involves special programme management and work techniques to ensure minimal disruption to traffic flow while maintaining a high standard of road safety. In particular, applications involving the installation of utility services across an expressway require the personal approval of the CHE/NT. This workload will grow rapidly with the completion of more new expressways, mostly in the New Territories, in the near future.

8. The CHE/NT also has to supervise a Rural Roads Development (RRD) Section to formulate and implement a comprehensive rural roads improvement programme under the RPIS, including subsequent maintenance. The objective is to provide proper road access to improve the transport services to villages and to facilitate the removal of waste. With an establishment of 31 staff, the RRD Section is currently undertaking over 70 rural road improvement projects with a target of spending over $1.5 billion in the next five years. CHE/NT has to personally approve all technical drawings concerning these improvement items.result in additional future maintenance commitment, which in turn increases the personal workload of the CHE/NT.

9. The Director of Highways (DHy) has reviewed the workload of CHE/NT and concluded that it has grown to such an extent that it is now far beyond the capability of one officer. There is, however, no other post in the Regional Office which can share CHE/NT's duties and responsibilities. In order to strengthen the administration of the district and maintenance works in the NT Region, the DHy proposes to split the present D&M Division into two divisions on an east/west geographical basis, each to be headed by a Chief Engineer. This will also bring down the existing ratio of one Chief Engineer supervising eight Senior Engineers to a ratio of one-to-four, which is more in line with the organisation of the Hong Kong and Kowloon Regional Offices.

10. We therefore propose to create one Chief Engineer (D1) post to head one of the new divisions, whilst the existing CHE/NT will head the other. The proposed structure of the NT Region is shown in Enclosure 3. The job description of the proposed CE post and the existing CE post will be the same, as shown in Enclosure 2.


11. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at MID-POINT is $904,200. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $1,829,280. In addition, this proposal will necessitate the creation of one post of Personal Secretary II at a notional annual mid-point salary cost of $149,520 and a full annual average staff cost of $259,440. We have included sufficient provision in the Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.


12. The Civil Service Branch considers the ranking and grading of the post appropriate, having regard to the responsibilities and the professional input required.


13. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.

Transport Branch
June 1996

Enclosure 1 to EC(96-97)28

Existing organisation chart of Highways Department

Warning : The chart is quite large and may take some time to download.

Annex to Enclosure 1to EC(96-97)28

Highways Department New Territories Region Existing Organisation

Warning : The chart is quite large and may take some time to download.

Enclosure 2 to EC(96-97)28

Highways Department Existing Job Description

Rank : Chief Engineer (D1)

Post : Chief Highway Engineer/New Territories

Responsible to : Regional Highway Engineer/New Territories (D2)

Main duties and responsibilities

  1. implementing policy and procedures on road maintenance in consultation with the Research and Development Division;
  2. directing maintenance, reconstruction, minor improvement of rural roads and the highway system, and associated drainage installation; and monitoring expenditure on these activities;
  3. controlling and directing the direct labour force, plant and equipment;
  4. training staff in the latest techniques of highway maintenance;
  5. co-ordinating and supervising the day-to-day work of utility companies, private developers and other Government departments which affects highways, and controlling works on private account or contingent on development;
  6. directing the Emergency and Storm Damage Organisation;
  7. overall control of staff, work, and expenditure of the division; and
  8. attending or chairing various standing committees and meetings as required.

Enclosure 3 to EC(96-97)28

Highways Department New Territories Region
Proposed re-organisation for District And Maintenance Divisions

Warning : The chart is quite large and may take some time to download.

Last Updated on 3 December 1998