For discussion PWSC(97-98)59
on 4 November 1997
ITEM FOR PUBLIC WORKS SUBCOMMITTEE
OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 706 - HIGHWAYS
6100TX - Highway works, studies and investigations for items in Category D of the Public Works Programme
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee to approve an increase in the allocation for Subhead 6100TX for 1997-98 from $597.3 million by $72.7 million to $670.0 million.
Subhead 6100TX - Highway works, studies and investigations for items in Category D of the Public Works Programme is for capital expenditure on highway, footpath, public transport and railway works, subject to a maximum expenditure ceiling of not more than $15 million per item. The approved allocation for the subhead is insufficient to meet the estimated expenditure to be made in the remainder of the 1997-98 financial year.
2. The Director of Highways (DHy), with the support of the Secretary for Transport, proposes to increase the approved allocation for Subhead 6100TX from $597.3 million by $72.7 million to $670.0 million to meet the estimated expenditure for the remainder of the current financial year.
SCOPE OF WORKS
3. The scope of Subhead 6100TX comprises -
- works covering highways, railways and railway development, bridges, subways and other structures, footways, vehicle parking, street lighting, roadside slopes, road resurfacing including joint replacement, road reconstruction and rehabilitation, traffic engineering, as well as feasibility studies and site investigations in respect of highway projects;
- costs of preliminary feasibility studies and investigations to enable highway projects to be included in Category C of the Public Works Programme;
- consultants�fees and charges for feasibility investigations and design of highway projects in Category B or Category C1 of the Public Works Programme; and
- urgent payments in respect of minor outstanding works to a value not exceeding $100,000 on any highway projects that have been substantially completed and for which there is no subhead in the Fund estimates.
4. We need an increase in the allocation for Subhead 6100TX for the following reasons -
- we need to increase the estimated expenditure for roadside slope repair works by $48.6 million from the original estimate of $107.0 million. This is due to the huge additional commitment on slope2 remedial and improvement works resulting from prolonged heavy rainstorms this year3 . There have been a total of about 120 emergency repairs of failed roadside slopes in the territory since April this year, compared with 62 repairs for the same period in last year. We have had to incur additional expenditure not originally provided for under 6100TX;
- we have to carry out more road resurfacing/rehabilitation works as a result of serious damage to bituminous road pavements due to the exceptionally wet weather this year. Prolonged exposure of road surfaces to wet weather led to excessive water penetration into cracks in the bituminous road pavement which in turn accelerated its deterioration. This, coupled with the wheel pressure from travelling vehicles, led to higher incidence of pavement failure. We estimate that an additional $28.9 million under Subhead 6100TX is required to maintain the standard of road surface.
5. We reviewed the projected expenditure under 6100TX, and identified savings of $4.8 million from other block allocation items. But we still require an additional sum of $72.7 million to carry out all the urgent slope repairs and to continue prompt repair to roads to maintain the safety and serviceability of the road network.
6. A comparison of the original estimate for 6100TX approved in March 1997 and the revised estimate in September 1997 is as follows -
| Revised(Sept 1997)
|(a) Subhead 6100TX||597.3||670.0
7. Subhead 6100TX is a block allocation approved together with other block allocations on an annual basis by the Finance Committee under the Capital Works Reserve Fund. On 22 January 1997, Members recommended approval of a provision of $597.3 million for 6100TX for 1997-98. Finance Committee agreed to the recommendation on 14 February 1997. We expect the approved provision together with the additional allocation under request will be spent in the current financial year.
1 -- subject to approval of the Secretary for the Treasury
2 -- The term here refers to man-made slopes and retaining walls along roadside on unallocated government land which are maintained by the Highways Department.
3 -- According to the Hong Kong Observatory, the rainfall recorde so far this year is already the highest on record. The total rainfall recorded up to 15 October 1997 is 3269mm.
Last Updated on 1 November 1997