Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. PWSC 86
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/F/2/2

Public Works Subcommittee of the
Provisional Legislative Council

Minutes of the meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber on Wednesday, 25 March 1998, at 9:30 am

Members present:

Hon HO Sai-chu, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Henry WU
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

Members absent :

Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Public officers attending :

Miss Emma LAU
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

Mr Patrick LAU, JP
Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Mrs Stella HUNG, JP
Deputy Secretary for Works (Programme & Resources)

Director of Environmental Protection

Mr James HERD
Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)

Director of Highways

Mr Johnny CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (5)

Assistant Director of Highways (Major Works)

Mr Thomas THUMB
Government Engineer/Port and Airport Development, Transport Department

Ms Michelle LI
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (1)

Chief Technical Adviser, Architectural Services Department

Mr Jack CHAN
Deputy Secretary-General (1), University Grants Committee

Clerk in attendance:

Mrs Vivian KAM
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)5

Staff in attendance:

Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Ms Anita SIT
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8


Upgrading of projects to Category A


PWSC(97-98)143582THCentral Kowloon Route - consultants' design fees and site investigations

The Chairman informed members that the proposal was re-submitted to this Subcommittee for consideration after withdrawal at the last Subcommittee meeting on 17 February 1998 and subsequent consultation at a joint meeting of the Transport Panel and the Planning, Lands and Works Panel.

2. Members agreed that early actions ought to be taken to address the problems in traffic between East and West Kowloon, which underlined the strategic importance of the Central Kowloon Route (CKR). Notwithstanding the Administration's explanation on the technical difficulties and cost implications of providing a dual-3 lane CKR at the previous PWSC meeting and the subsequent joint meeting with the Panels, some members still had reservations over the proposed dual-2 lane option. They were concerned that the capacity of a dual-2 lane CKR would not be able to meet the traffic demand by the time it was open to traffic. Given the on-going development in the Kowloon peninsula, they saw little opportunity in future for further widening of the CKR or constructing another trunk road servicing the traffic between east and west Kowloon. They were also concerned about the long timeframe of the project, with the construction works commencing only in late 2003 for completion by late 2007. Members enquired if the implementation schedule could be advanced to enable early completion of the project.

3. In reply to a member's enquiry about the outcome of discussions by the two Panels, Mrs Miriam LAU, Chairman of the joint Panel meeting on 13 March 1998, reported that the meeting was briefed on the technical issues and cost implications of the various dual-3 lane options for the CKR. No voting on the proposal took place at the meeting. While most members either accepted or did not object to the proposal, a few members had expressed reservations.

4. On the timeframe of the project, the Director of Highways (DHy) and the Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (5) (PAS/T(5)) advised that the intention was to award the consultancy contract for the detailed design in May 1998 and to publish a gazette notice of the road scheme in late 1999. Construction works were scheduled to commence in late 2003 to allow sufficient time for handling objections to the gazetted road scheme, demolishing affected buildings and rehousing/reprovisioning the affected residents. They advised that the present schedule was a conservative one. Subject to no other complications after publication of the statutory notice in the gazette, it might be possible to advance the implementation schedule by about one year. They assured members that measures would be taken to expedite the project, such as constructing the Route in phases and commencing construction works of particular sections once the necessary land resumption and rehousing/reprovisioning for those sections were completed. The objectives was to complete the project as fast as practicable.

5. On the technical difficulties and cost implications of the dual-3 lane options for the CKR, DHy advised that while these were technically feasible, they would entail significant problems. For the dual-3 shallow cut and cover tunnel option, the main problem lied in its impact on the demolition and rehousing of a large number of residential buildings on the eastern end which would cost about $6 billion. This would double the estimated project cost for a dual-2 lane CKR. For the dual-3 deep tunnel option, the invert of the tunnel would need to be about 70 metres below ground to avoid impact on buildings. While the necessary changes to the road network on the western end would not be an insurmountable problem, it would not be technically feasible to connect the tunnel portal on the eastern end with the proposed road network in the desired location in the South East Kowloon Development (SEKD). Vehicles would thus need to travel a long distance to rejoin the SEKD road network. Apart from the additional project cost of about $4 billion, a connection road from the tunnel portal to the SEKD road network would take up a substantial portion of land in SEKD earmarked for other development purposes.

6. As regards the dual-3 medium depth tunnel option, the Government Engineer/Port and Airport Development, Transport Department (GE/TD) explained that a major problem with this option was the significant impact on residential buildings in the To Kwa Wan District. The invert of the tunnel would be about 50 metres below ground and to construct a tunnel at this depth would require very major strengthening of the foundation of the buildings situated along the tunnel alignment during construction.

7. The Assistant Director of Highways (AD/Hy) supplemented that for the shallow and medium depth options, the width of the tunnel was constrained by the location of buildings above ground, and a dual-2 lane option was proposed because of this constraint. If impact on buildings was to be avoided, the tunnel would need to be constructed at the bedrock level but such a deep tunnel could not be connected to the ground level road network at the desired location. As to why the shallow depth instead of the medium depth tunnel option was adopted for the CKR, he explained that local experts and contractors had a better command of the construction techniques required for a shallow depth tunnel which had been applied in many projects, e.g. those under the Mass Transit Railway. Furthermore, the medium depth option would entail high risks as the tunnel would still be in mixed ground and, because of the increased tunnel depth and settlement envelope, would have more severe impact on the building foundations. It could cause settlement of pavement and buildings during and after construction.

8. Noting from DHy that there would still be another road scheme in future in addition to the CKR for through traffic between east and west Kowloon, members enquired about the details. GE/TD advised that the feasibility of a southern connection between West Kowloon and South-east Kowloon via Salisbury Road would be examined under the Third Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS-3) due to be completed by March 1999. AD/Hy supplemented that the Administration would continue to look for opportunities for improvements to the existing roads servicing east-west Kowloon traffic. The capacity of these roads was presently restricted by frequent frontage access and signal controlled junctions. As to whether there were plans for a railway linking east and west Kowloon, PAS/T(5) advised that this would be examined in the context of the Second Railway Development Strategy Study (RDS-2). The Government's policy was to develop transport infrastructure with effective interface between railways and roads.

9. A member urged the Administration to take into account the fact that the capacity of the dual-2 lane CKR might not be adequate to meet the traffic demand upon completion, and to expedite consideration of the East Kowloon Railway Line. In response, PAS/T(5) advised that the CKR was planned to meet traffic demand up to 2011, on account of the availability of planning data. The transport planning up to 2016 would be covered by the CTS-3.

10. Pointing out that further developments in the To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom districts would generate additional traffic, a member enquired if the proposed consultancy would consider connecting the CKR to the road networks in these districts. He commented that it might be more time and cost-effective to incorporate branch extensions to these districts into the CKR alignment instead of resorting to new road schemes to accommodate the increasing traffic. DHy advised that because of the tunnel design, the addition of branch extensions to the CKR would entail significant technical difficulties. Besides, providing such branch extensions would require the demolition of more existing buildings. PAS/T(5) added that the purpose of the CKR was to facilitate direct through traffic between east and west Kowloon. This purpose could not be served if branch extensions were added to the route. He confirmed that the need for new strategic road schemes to address the increasing traffic generated from the future developments in central Kowloon would be examined in the CTS-3 and other district based transport studies. He assured members that the Administration would closely monitor the traffic demand in central Kowloon and draw up corresponding short term and long term traffic measures.

11. Regarding the use of the shallow cut and cover technique for the construction of the CKR, members expressed concern about the traffic impact during construction. AD/Hy advised that the most difficult sections would be those sections which traversed Nathan Road on the west, Chatham Road North and Ma Tau Wai Road on the east. To minimise traffic impact, construction works would be carried out section-by-section, and at most one lane would be closed at any time. Existing open space at the junction of Nathan Road and Gascoigne Road would be used for temporary traffic diversion. The proposed consultancy would also include detailed planning on traffic management measures during construction phases. Addressing a member's concern that the section-by-section execution of works might cause further delay to the project, PAS/T(5) advised that the present project schedule had already taken into account the need to implement traffic and environmental mitigation measures, based on the preliminary assessments.

12. In view of members?concerns about the progress of the project and the traffic impact during construction, the Chairman requested and the Administration agreed to provide periodical updates to the relevant Panels in these respects. Admin

13. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Revision in scope/Changes in commitments for subvented projects


PWSC(97-98)14422EFRedevelopment of Chung Chi College, teaching buildings, Phase V

24EFExtension to Chung Chi College new teaching building complex

14. A member referred to the enclosures to the paper and enquired about the variations in the level of inflation adjustments among various cost items. He commented that the paper had not provided adequate information to explain the proposed increase in project estimates, such as the timing of tenders and the relevant price indices.

15. The Chief Technical Advisor, Architectural Services Department (CTA/ASD) explained that the variations in inflation adjustment were mainly due to the different timing of tenders and the different price indices applied. The works of stage "A" of project 24EF were tendered in late 1995 and had already been completed, whereas the works of stage "B" were only tendered in late 1997. Moreover, separate tender price indices were applied in deriving the anticipated price increases for building works and building services. A higher tender price index was applied for building works as the actual tender prices for these works had undergone a larger increase than the tender prices for building services over the past years. There was at present no tender price index for furniture and equipment. The Architectural Services Department had assessed the proposed increases for this cost item in the context of the individual projects concerned and was satisfied that the proposed increases were reasonable.

16. With regard to the substantial increase of 63.38% in the estimate for furniture and equipment for project 22EF, CTA/ASD advised that the increase was only an estimate as the furniture and equipment concerned were not yet procured, whereas most of the furniture and equipment under stage "A" of 24EF had been purchased, hence the lower anticipated increase of 17.49%. The difference was thus partly attributed to a two-year gap in the timing of tenders.

17. At the Chairman's request, CTA/ASD undertook to provide further details on the variations in inflation adjustment among the cost items of the projects concerned. Admin

18. The item was voted on and endorsed.

19. The Chairman thanked members for their active participation at the meetings of the Subcommittee and also the Administration for addressing members?concerns. The Deputy Secretary for the Treasury also thanked the Chairman and members for their deliberations and valuable comments on the public works proposals.

20. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 10:30 am.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
2 April 1998