Public Works Subcommittee

Record of Meeting held on 10 January 1996 at 10:45 am
in the Legislative Council Chamber


    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP


    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Edward LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

In attendance for specific items:

Mr Y Y NG, JP Director of Drainage Services
Mr K S LEUNG, JP Director of Highways
Mr S S LEE, JP Director of Territory Development
Mr C F KONG Chief Architect of Housing Department
Mr M S HU, JP Director of Water Supplies
Mr Kenneth CHAN, JP Director of Architectural Services
Miss Annette LEE Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower
Mr Anthony TONG Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support)
Mr J COLLIER, JP Deputy Secretary for Works
Dr A W MALONE, JP Principal Government Geotechnical Engineer of the Civil Engineering Department
Mr D J HOWELLS Government Geotechnical Engineer/Landslip Preventive Measures of the Civil Engineering Department
Mr Mike ROWSE Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (2)
Mr Billy LAM, JP Director of New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office
Mr Bernard LAM, JP Project Manager of New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office

In attendance:

Mr B P W LEUNG, JP Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
Mr H S KWONG, JP Secretary for Works
Dr S B REED, OBE, JP Director of Environmental Protection
Mr Kevin HO, JP Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)
Mr Mike ARNOLD Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)
Miss Pauline NG Assistant Secretary General
Mr Andy LAU Clerk to the Public Works Subcommittee

Members agreed to advance the discussion of PWSC(95-96)77, PWSC(95-96) 74 and PWSC(95-96)76.

Upgrading of projects to Category A



Extension of O’Brien Road Footbridge across Hennessy Road

2. Regarding the provision of footbridges to segregate pedestrians from busy traffic, the Director of Highways (DHy) advised that it had always been the government’s policy to build footbridges to reduce the conflict between pedestrian and vehicular movements. The provision of a footbridge would however be subject to the availability of space at the location concerned.

3. Some Members pointed out that the current design of the footbridge did not adequately address the needs of the disabled and requested the Administration to consider providing lift facilities for these people. In reply, DHy explained that it was the government’s policy to provide ramps in addition to staircases at footbridges for the use of the disabled wherever space allowed. In the current proposal, ramps could not be provided because of the limitation of space. An up-escalator would be provided instead. In addition, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation proposed to build a lift connecting the station concourse to the road and footbridge levels for the disabled intending to go north to destinations such as the government offices in Wanchai North. As regards the general provision of lifts for the disabled at all public footbridges, there would be cost implications as well as operational, security and control problems which would need to be seriously considered. He agreed to discuss this issue with the relevant policy branches.


4. This item was voted on and endorsed.

Revision in scope/approved estimate of projects in Category A



Landslip Preventive Measures

5. Members enquired if there would be sufficient resources to proceed with all necessary slope preventive repairs before next summer so that the additional allocation would not only be made to meet the increased expenditure resulting from slope failures, but also to prevent landslips. In reply, the Principal Government Geotechnical Engineer (PGGE) advised that the Landslip Preventive Measures (LPM) Programme was an ongoing programme and that improvement works had to be prioritized and carried out in phases over several years. He confirmed that the Administration would deploy some of the additional allocation to speed up the LPM programme.

6. In response to a Member’s question, PGGE advised that the total costs of the remedial works for the slopes on Fei Tsui Road were around $23 million. No estimate had yet been prepared for Shum Wan Road but it might cost around $40 million.

7. As to whether the use of hand-dug caisson should be disallowed under the consultancy agreements for undertaking landslip preventive works, PGGE advised that the possibility of using hand-dug caisson should be preserved to allow for very exceptional cases where a hand-dug caisson was a safer method. The Chairman advised that it would be more appropriate for this subject to be dealt with at the relevant Panel.

8. This item was voted on and endorsed.

Upgrading of projects to Category A



Outlying Islands sewerage, stage I, phase I

9. Members noted that while an Environmental Review had been carried out, no environmental impact assessment (EIA) had been conducted. The EIA would be included in the proposed consultancy which also covered site investigation and the detailed design work. Members considered this arrangement inconsistent with the usual practice of assessing the environmental impact before determining whether the project should go ahead or not. It was also not appropriate to award the consultancy to a single consultant as the detailed design would be very much dependent on the findings and recommendations of the EIA. Members therefore asked if the proposal could be split into two consultancy projects: one for the EIA and the other for site investigations and detailed design.

10. In response, the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) advised that on the basis of the environmental review commissioned in the context of the Sewage Master Plan, he was satisfied that there were no intractable problems associated with the project. The proposed EIA was only intended to further examine the possible mitigating measures required to address problems likely to arise during construction and operation of the sewerage improvement works. As regards the award of the contract to a single consultant, the Director of Drainage Services explained that this arrangement would enable the Administration to speed up the completion of the prioritised programme of works recommended by the Outlying Islands sewerage master plan study. Although the contract would be awarded to a single tenderer, the various parts of the project would be undertaken by different groups of professionals as different expertise was involved. He was confident that the EIA would be carried out independently. Besides, the findings of the EIA would be examined by a management group chaired by the Environmental Protection Department. There would be sufficient objectivity in assessing the findings and recommendations of the EIA.

11. Members maintained that there were insufficient justifications for grouping the various parts of the projects under one consultancy. The Administration decided to withdraw the paper.

Upgrading of projects to Category A



New airport works project management, phase IV

12. With the concurrence of the Chairman, the Director of New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office (D/NAPCO) briefed Members on the extent of works being co-ordinated by NAPCO. He also informed Members of the number of consultants and government officers to be deployed in managing the airport works up to mid 1998.

13. A Member expressed his disappointment with the Administration’s failure to put in place the transfer of technology to government staff, hence the present need for further relying on the services of consultants, despite the Administration’s earlier commitment to do so when the consultants were first engaged.

14. In reply, D/NAPCO explained that efforts had been made to facilitate the transfer of experience and technology in managing the large scale airport projects. It had not been possible to replace the consultants entirely by government staff as there were insufficient senior posts within the establishment of NAPCO to absorb those who had been identified for further advancement in their respective grades. However, the experience which these officers had acquired was not lost as many of them were subsequently engaged in responsibilities of a magnitude similar to those in the airport works. The Project Manager/NAPCO supplemented that while there were only about 30 government staff working side by side with the consultant in NAPCO, there were more than 300 engineering staff in works departments and on sites applying management techniques and procedures introduced by the consultant. Seminars were held to explain and to assist staff to apply these new procedures and practices to their works. So far the transfer of technology was very successful and Works Branch was in the process of introducing the technology to all non-Airport Core Programme projects. D/NAPCO stressed that the transfer of technology was not the only objective for engaging the consultants. The main purpose was to provide an integrated team to ensure that all the Airport Core Programme projects are completed in time and within budget. There was still a very cogent need to rely on the expert knowledge of the consultants in undertaking the planning and implementation of the Airport Operational Readiness Programme, for example, where local expertise was not available. As for the need to retain 22 consultants up to mid 1998, D/NAPCO explained that some consultants would be required to follow up on cases involving claims and other minor outstanding works even after the completion of the government works, and others would be required to see through the completion of works and commissioning of the airport and airport railway scheduled in mid 1998.

15. Some Members considered that the situation had resulted from the lack of suitable or flexible arrangements to retain the experienced staff in NAPCO e.g. through the creation of supernumerary posts within NAPCO to accommodate the officers identified for promotion by offsetting comparable consultant posts. They did not entirely agree that the Administration had made sufficient efforts to ensure the proper transfer of experience and technology to government staff.

16. As for the cost of the consultancy, D/NAPCO confirmed that the proposed commitment of $298 million was in line with the costs of the consultants’ fees in the earlier phases. This estimate had been achieved after vigorous negotiation with the consultants and was lower than the original estimate of $320 million. Regarding the quality and qualifications of the consultants, D/NAPCO advised that the Administration was satisfied that individual consultants offered in the contract were experienced and well-qualified professionals. There was also provision in the contract to allow the Government to terminate the contract if the services rendered by the consultants were not up to standard.

17. The Democratic Party indicated that they reserved their position on the proposal.

18. This item was voted on and endorsed.

19. Members noted that on grounds of urgency, this item would be submitted to the Finance Committee for its consideration at its meeting on 19 January 1996.

Upgrading of projects to Category A



Sham Tseng sewerage and sewage treatment and disposal facilities

20. This item was voted on and endorsed.




Reconstruction of the footbridge across Kwun Tong Road at Tsun Yip Lane, Kwun Tong

21. A Member said that the project estimate of $38.1 million appeared to be on the high side in view of the relatively simple nature of the works under the project. He enquired if this type of contract could be open up to other contractors who were equally competent in building footbridges and might offer a rate lower than that offered by the contractors for normal civil engineering works. In response, DHy advised that the project estimate was prepared on the basis of the latest tender prices for similar works. Apart from the construction cost of the footbridge, the project estimate included the provision of escalators and the associated footpath, street lighting and drainage works, watermain diversion and landscaping works. The actual tender price would be subject to competitive bidding. The Chairman advised Members that a related information note prepared by the Administration had been circulated to Members on 18 December 1995 vide LegCo Paper No. FC 40/95-96.

22. In response to a Member’s questions, DHy advised that an appropriate temporary at-grade signal crossing would be provided for pedestrian traffic across Kwun Tong Road during construction. The design of the footbridge had already catered for the need of the disabled, and ramps would be provided at both ends of the bridges. The relevant District Board and the Environmental Protection Department had been consulted, and there were no adverse comments on the proposal.

23. In response to questions, DHy confirmed that hand-dug caissons would not be used in the project. To address Members’ concern on the subject, the Administration was requested to include this type of information in future submissions.


24. This item was voted on and endorsed.



Noise reducing highway surfacing on Island Eastern Corridor, Princess Margaret Road, Kwun Tong Road and Tai Po Road

25. On the criteria for prioritising noise reducing highway surfacing works, DHy advised that the Highways Department would determine the priority in consultation with DEP, having regard to road conditions and the number of residents who would benefit from such noise reduction measures. DEP agreed to provide Members’ with further information on the criteria used for selecting roads for noise reducing surfacing, and the roads selected for such works in the future programme.


26. Whilst Members generally welcomed the Administration to take steps to reduce the nuisance caused to residents along the thoroughfare, they considered that the noise level even after the placement of the low-noise road surfaces was still relatively high. They enquired if other mitigation measures such as the installation of noise barrier could be put in place. In response, DHy pointed out that any noise barrier of a height of 3 to 4 metres would not bring about any benefits to occupants on the upper floors of the buildings, and to increase the height of the barrier would create negative visual impact which the residents might consider undesirable. He advised Members that his department was experimenting with various types of noise reduction materials on different types of roads, and the results would be available by mid-1997. Members agreed to further pursue the subject at a joint meeting of the Environmental Affairs and the Planning, Lands and Works Panels.

27. This item was voted on and endorsed.




Tuen Mun New Town engineering development, formation, roads and drains in area 52 (remainder), and footbridge across Road D9

28. A Member asked whether appropriate bus terminating facilities would be provided in the area since the proposed site was far away from the town centre. The Director of Territory Development agreed to provide the information in writing.


29. This item was voted on and endorsed.




Monitoring and control of fresh water supply systems

30. This item was voted on and endorsed.




Practical school at Mei Lai Road, Shamshuipo

31. In response to a Member’s question, the Assistant Director of Education advised that the provision of student hostels was worked out on the basis of previous experience. Having regard to the convenient location of the proposed school, the present provision was considered sufficient.

32. This item was voted on and endorsed.



A skills opportunity school in area 18, Fanling

33. This item was voted on and endorsed.

34. The Committee was adjourned at 12.50 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
1 February 1996

Last Updated on 27 November 1998