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Long Valley Nature Park

When taking forward projects in new development areas, the Government will attach importance to environmental and nature conservation to provide a green and quality living space to people in these areas. The Kwu Tung North (KTN) and Fanling North (FLN) New Development Area (NDA) forms a core part of the multi-pronged land supply strategy in the medium and long term, and the construction of the Long Valley Nature Park is part and parcel of the KTN/FLN NDA project. Staff members from the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) will tell us about the project details regarding conserving and enhancing the ecological environment of Long Valley. A representative of the Conservancy Association, the advisor of the project, will also share her suggestions on conservation in Long Valley.Project expected to be completed in 2023Located between the Sheung Yue River and Shek Sheung River in Sheung Shui, Long Valley is currently the largest contiguous freshwater wetland of high ecological value in Hong Kong. The CEDD commenced the construction works in late 2019 with a view to developing some 37 hectares of land at the core area of Long Valley into a nature park for conserving and enhancing the ecologically important environment as well as for compensating the loss of wetland due to the NDA development. Meanwhile, the department is going to enhance the environment there through the works to make the park a major green space for the NDA. The project is making good progress and is expected to be completed in 2023. Preservation and enhancement of the ecological value of Long ValleyWhile the construction of the Long Valley Nature Park is undertaken by the CEDD, its future management rests with the AFCD. Nature Park Officer of the AFCD, Dr Ho King-yan, Kevin, says Long Valley has various habitats including wet and dry agricultural land, pools, paddy fields, fishponds, swamps, etc. with rich biodiversity. The Government hopes to, through the construction of the Long Valley Nature Park, further conserve and enhance the ecological value of the Long Valley wetland to provide more areas for different species to forage, inhabit and reproduce. It also hopes to preserve traditional farming methods, thereby achieving agro-ecological symbiosis. During the construction period, the AFCD and the CEDD work closely to exchange views on conservation, restoration and management of habitats as well as on the planning and design of the park. A park with three zonesEngineer of the CEDD, Mr Chau Ha-lo, Ryan, says the park will be divided into three zones, including the Biodiversity Zone of about 21 hectares, the Agriculture Zone of about 11 hectares and the Visitor Zone of about five hectares. The Biodiversity Zone is designated for maintaining the biodiversity of Long Valley through the cultivation of specified crops and habitat management. The Agriculture Zone will enable farmers to adopt eco-friendly farming practices while the Visitor Zone will provide visitors’ facilities to facilitate public understanding and appreciation of the wetland ecology of Long Valley and promote public awareness of nature conservation.Restoration of dry and abandoned agricultural landFurthermore, the wetland area of the whole Long Valley will increase by about eight hectares as the CEDD will convert some dry and abandoned agricultural land into wetland habitats. Paddy fields are an important stop-over site for yellow-breasted buntings during their migration. In the middle of last year, collaborating with the Conservancy Association, the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and farmers in Long Valley, the CEDD successfully established about 10 patches of paddy fields before the bird migration season in October for serving as a rest stop for birds in Long Valley during their migration journey. Under the guidance of farmers in Long Valley, five water flea ponds were restored to breed water fleas and red worms for the birds to feed on; as a result, many birds particularly water birds were attracted to forage in the ponds. Enhancing the agricultural environment of Long ValleyTo meet the irrigation demand of the farmland in Long Valley in future, the CEDD will also enhance the irrigation channels in Long Valley and construct a water treatment wetland to improve the irrigation water quality at the park through sedimentation, plant filtration, and sterilisation by sunlight. Storage sheds will also be provided at various locations across the park for farmers to store basic farming tools and equipment.Exploring the natural environmentBesides, to allow the public to explore the freshwater wetlands in a natural environment and have a better understanding of the close relationship between crops and living creatures, timber boardwalks, bird hide and outdoor classrooms will be built in the Visitor Zone of the park. The CEDD will also construct a visitor centre near the park to provide a comfortable space for the public to understand the importance of Long Valley in terms of ecology and agriculture. Striving to protect the natural environmentMr Ryan Chau points out that the CEDD needs to handle each process with special care and avoid using heavy machinery throughout the construction of the Long Valley Nature Park in order to protect the natural environment of Long Valley and reduce the impact on its ecology. Although these challenges pose difficulties to the project, the project team feels that it is well worth their effort when seeing the birds roost and feed in the restored wetlands. Mr Chau gives his special thanks to the Conservancy Association for acting as the advisor and giving a lot of valuable advice on the project. Gratitude for the advice of Conservancy AssociationConservation Manager of the Conservancy Association, Ms Kami Hui, shares with us that a large piece of contiguous agricultural freshwater wetland in Long Valley is precious for farmers to continue farming. Therefore, it is hoped that the principle of conserving Long Valley will be adhered to when carrying out the project details so as to minimise the impact on ecology. During construction, they will remind the project team to pay particular attention to sites with a higher ecological value and avoid having works vehicles pass through the related road sections. Citing another example, when yellow-breasted buntings flew to Hong Kong between October and December last year, the Conservancy Association particularly reminded the project team to exclude the rice paddies from their scope of works so that the birds could forage in the rice paddies. The Government has been committed to striking the right balance between development and conservation with a view to providing a large green space in a new town to create a quality living environment. There is no doubt that the works for Long Valley Nature Park need to be conducted in line with the conservation principle in order to minimise the impact on the wetlands. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)

Smart site of Civil Engineering and Development Department

The Tung Chung New Town Extension (TCNTE) is the first trial project for developing a smart low-carbon community on Lantau Island, adopting city concepts that are smart, green and resilient to the environment and climate. Under the project, the Tung Chung East reclamation works are being carried out on schedule. The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) has adopted over 30 innovative technologies in various aspects of works, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud systems, Artificial Intelligence (AI), satellite navigation and smart safety measures, to usher in smart city development. Staff members from the CEDD will take us to the Innovation Hub of the Tung Chung East reclamation works (InnoTCE) to explain how the project team utilises innovative technologies to enhance site management and operation efficiency as well as to further improve site safety.The “brain” of the InnoTCE – digitalised management platformInside the InnoTCE, there is a room with computer screens of varying sizes, which acts as its “brain” - a digitalised management platform. Mr Yan Chun-ho, Geotechnical Engineer of the CEDD, says that the platform utilises the latest Digital Twin technology to collect and consolidate various kinds of site construction data and records through IoT sensors. Such data and records are then sent to a smart platform adopting Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to simulate the operation of the construction site, creating a real-time “digital twin” of the site in the virtual space. This enables the project team to monitor the entire construction site in real time, allowing quick and accurate decision-making, as well as facilitating day-to-day site management and collaboration in the project team. Introducing AI technologyEnsuring site safety is a matter of utmost importance. Mr Chung Wing-wah, Geotechnical Engineer of the CEDD, says that the project team is using AI technology to monitor high-risk tasks, so as to enhance safety performance and effectiveness. Among the technologies used are the AI cameras installed on the construction site. Equipped with analytical and machine-learning technologies, the cameras are able to monitor the main vehicular access and some restricted areas with potential risks within the site in a round-the-clock manner. An example is the intelligent vessel intruder warning system designed for offshore works. The system is able to differentiate between construction and non-construction vessels; if the latter are spotted within the warning zone, the system will alert the monitoring staff immediately to request and instruct the vessels to leave.Real-time tracking and monitoring system for dump trucksFurthermore, to manage the environment of the construction site more effectively, the project team also utilises AI cameras to analyse and monitor the cleanliness of construction vehicles leaving the site, reducing the possibility of carrying the mud and debris to the nearby streets by the vehicles. The TCNTE is the first public works project adopting a real-time tracking and monitoring system for dump trucks. By recording and monitoring the trucks’ locations and travel routes, the system aims to deter illegal dumping of construction waste which is a cause of pollution. Dump trucks are installed with tilting sensors and AI cameras so that if any of them is suspected to be dumping waste at a non-designated location, the system will immediately notify monitoring staff for follow-up. Real-time monitoring of ground settlement of reclamationThe application of technologies can also save manpower and enhance works efficiency. According to Mr Chung Wing-wah, ground settlement monitoring is an important part of reclamation works. In the past, survey officers had to go to every monitoring point to measure data manually. As reclamation sites covered extensive areas, the manpower and amount of time required were therefore enormous. The Tung Chung East reclamation project has adopted a technology called the Global Navigation Satellite System to monitor the extent of ground settlement of the reclamation in real time by connecting the monitoring points to satellites and making use of cloud computing, which can help enhance construction efficiency and quality. Frontline workers in support of the use of innovative technologiesBesides, the InnoTCE has set up a number of training zones equipped with a Virtual Reality (VR) system that combines digital imaging with a real-life operation for workers to learn in a safe environment. Frontline worker Mr Cheng Cho-Wai shares with us that, in the past, the design and construction of building projects were illustrated in drawings, which made it very difficult for workers to understand the complicated procedures involved. With VR training, workers feel as if they are in a real work environment and will have a deeper impression of the construction work plan. Also, it will make them more alert to the potential dangers of various construction procedures. Incubation platform for technologiesApart from providing digitalisation of site management, the InnoTCE is also an “incubation platform for technologies”. Mr Yan Chun-ho tells us that the project team has been proactively collaborating with the industry, academics, and the scientific research sector to research and develop construction technology that can upgrade engineering techniques and quality. The Passive Radiative Cooling Coating is the latest example and the InnoTCE is the first field trial site for the coating in Hong Kong. Unlike traditional cooling systems, the Passive Radiative Cooling Coating is an energy-free cooling technology that requires no refrigerant. Applying this coating to a building’s roof or external walls can reduce the surface temperature, thereby saving the energy needed for air-conditioning. Meanwhile, the project team is also working with scientific research institutes to test a technology that can promptly dry wetted inert construction waste to facilitate its quicker reuse. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)

New non-dredged technology for Tung Chung East reclamation

The Tung Chung New Town Extension (TCNTE) is the first new town project via reclamation since 2003, following the completion of the last phase of reclamation of the new town development projects in Tseung Kwan O and Tung Chung. The project has adopted the latest environmentally-friendly reclamation technology – the non-dredged “Deep Cement Mixing” (DCM) method, which reduces the impact on water quality and marine ecology nearby and takes a time shorter than the traditional reclamation method would have taken to complete the works. The Under Secretary for Development, Mr Liu Chun-san, paid a visit to the reclamation site in Tung Chung and was briefed by colleagues from the Sustainable Lantau Office (SLO) on the details of the new reclamation technology and the eco-friendly construction approach.Forming 130 hectares of landThe TCNTE project covers the areas on the eastern and western flanks of the existing Tung Chung New Town. Reclamation is mainly carried out in Tung Chung East, forming 130 hectares of land, which is equivalent to the size of about six Victoria Parks. According to Chief Engineer of the SLO, Mr Wong Kwok-fai, Alfred, the reclamation works, commencing at the end of December 2017, are in good progress. The first parcel of land formed by reclamation was handed over to the Housing Department for housing development in March 2020, a process which took less than 30 months to complete, for construction of about 10 000 public housing units. Besides, an eco-shoreline design will first be adopted along the 4.9-kilometre-long seawall in the project to improve the coastal ecosystem and enhance biodiversity. The whole reclamation project is expected to be accomplished in 2023. Non-dredged reclamation methodTung Chung East reclamation is the first public works project using the DCM method for reclamation where no dredging or removal of marine mud on the seabed is involved.The Contractor’s Senior Resident Engineer, Mr Cheung Kin-wai, Chris explains that the DCM method involves the injection of cement slurry from works vessels into marine mud by “mixing” them together. Each works vessel can carry up to 480 tonnes of cement. In the course of the mixing process, three sets of mixing shafts on the works vessel auger into the marine mud layer, mixing the cement slurry with the soft marine mud while rotating. The marine mud will be solidified to form a strong and hard cement mixing column. These cement mixing columns will form a DCM treatment zone in the seabed to support the seawall to be constructed above and fill materials to be deposited. Reducing the environmental impact of the worksSenior Geotechnical Engineer of the SLO, Mr Cheung Kin-tak, Henry, says in comparison with the traditional dredged reclamation method, the DCM method does not involve the removal and transport of marine mud, and whereby can reduce the dispersion of suspended particles in water and effectively lower the impact on the water quality and marine ecology in the nearby waters. In addition, since no sea transport is required for dumping of marine mud, it helps reduce carbon emissions. Taking the works in Tung Chung East as an example, it eliminates dumping of marine mud by 4.4 million cubic metres and marine traffic by 17 600 vessel-trips. Turning construction waste into land resourcesThe reclamation project in Tung Chung East includes a recycling element as well. Inert construction waste from construction works is used as reclamation filling materials, turning waste intended for disposal into valuable land resources. The so-called inert construction waste refers to the construction and demolition materials generated from excavation and demolition procedures during construction, such as concrete, asphalt, stones, etc., which are collectively known as public fill. Currently, the whole reclamation project is about halfway to completion. Regarding the mix of fill materials, 60 percent of the materials are inert construction waste while the remaining 40 percent are manufactured sand. When the reclamation is completed, the final figure is expected to be about 70 percent of the fill materials being inert construction waste with the rest being manufactured sand. Implementing various mitigation measuresOne of the challenges of this reclamation project is how to conduct monitoring and quality management in the reclamation area. Mr Chris Cheung says that to ensure there will be no environmental impact from the works, the project team has implemented various mitigation measures, including setting up vertical steel barriers and silt curtains along the periphery of the reclamation site to prevent the outflow of silt particles and to minimise the impact on water quality. The project team has also put in place the Environmental Team and Independent Environmental Checker to conduct seawater sampling and testing regularly for monitoring the water quality. This will ensure that the marine ecology will not be affected. Other mitigation measures include using quality powered mechanical equipment and protective noise barriers to keep the noise generated from the works under control.The TCNTE project is one of the major initiatives of the Government's multi-pronged approach to increase land supply in the medium to long term. It will also allow Tung Chung to further develop into a comprehensively-planned new town with a large population capacity and adequate local and regional community facilities. During the course of construction, the project team has been actively communicating with relevant stakeholders, local community and residents, concern groups and green groups with a view to striking a balance between development and conservation for achieving sustainable development. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)

Tai Po Lung Mei Beach is open to public

Tai Po Lung Mei Beach, managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department is open for public use starting June 23 (Wednesday). It provides an additional choice of leisure facilities for the public. Facilities The Beach is about 200 metres long with facilities including changing rooms, shower facilities and toilets. Lifesaving services will be provided from 9am to 6pm every day between April and October. The services will be extended, being from 8am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays during the peak period from June to August. The public should not swim at the beach without lifesaving services to avoid accidents.Transportation Tai Po Lung Mei Beach is located at 168 Ting Kok Road, Tai Po, and near Tai Mei Tuk Public Transport Interchange. Members of the public can take bus No. 75K, bus No. 275R (available on Sundays and public holidays only) or green minibus No. 20C departing from MTR Tai Po Market Station, alight at the Lo Tsz Tin stop and walk about two minutes to the beach.For enquiries, please call the venue staff at 2671 1686, or visit the LCSD website.

Promoting green living in Lantau

With its unique environment, Lantau has a wealth of natural and cultural resources. The Government promulgated the Sustainable Lantau Blueprint in 2017 with “Development in the North; Conservation for the South” as the principle to promote sustainable development of Lantau. In the paragraphs below staff members from the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) will talk about the planning and promotion of green living in Lantau. The Chairperson of the Lantau Conservation Fund (LCF) Advisory Committee, Prof. Leung Mei-yee, Kenneth, will also talk about the support provided under the LCF for promoting conservation and minor local improvement works in the hope of raising awareness of conservation of Lantau and encouraging participation from members of the public, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the local communities.Green city with sustainable developmentEngineer of the Sustainable Lantau Office (SLO) of the CEDD, Ms Wong Tsz-wai, Kristy, says that in order to realise the vision of a green city with sustainable development in Lantau, the SLO is proactively carrying out work in various aspects. Taking the Tung Chung East Extension area as an example, land will be reserved for a waterfront promenade approximately 4.9 kilometres in length and eco-shorelines will also be adopted to enhance biodiversity by providing a suitable habitat for marine species. In future, a river park will be built at the Tung Chung Stream to improve the local environment and promote water-friendly culture and ecological education, with a view to fostering a quality living environment. The Lantau Conservation and Recreation MasterplanIn addition, under the principle of “Development in the North; Conservation for the South” and according to the characteristics of different areas of Lantau, the SLO has formulated the Lantau Conservation and Recreation Masterplan (the Masterplan) to provide a guiding framework for conservation and recreation initiatives. For example, there used to be a cluster of old villages in Northwest Lantau. To preserve the cultural setting of the area, the Office is commissioning studies by phases to understand the cultural and historical elements of the rural villages in Lantau. Besides, for the South Lantau coast, with abundant green and blue assets such as the Pui O wetland, Shui Hau sandflat and beaches along the coastline, its eco-recreation potential can be further enhanced. In accordance with the Masterplan, various attractions, activities and event bases will be linked up by hiking trails, bike trail network as well as water and road transport. The 100-kilometre Round-the-Lantau RouteAccording to Mr Lam Kwun-wang, Henry, Engineer of the SLO, the SLO hopes to develop Lantau into a place that offers a good variety of eco-recreation outlets, so that it will become a getaway popular with the public. For example, the expansion of the network of mountain bike trails (MBTs) in Mui Wo, the construction of a practice ground in Mui Wo, and the expansion of the network of MBTs in Chi Ma Wan have been substantially completed, with a view to enhancing the existing South Lantau MBTs. Meanwhile, the SLO has commenced a study on the improvement of Lantau’s hiking trails and trail network, with the aim of integrating the existing and to-be-built hiking trails in Lantau into a Round-the-Lantau Route with a total length of about 100 kilometres. Lantau Conservation FundIt was announced in The Chief Executive’s 2018 Policy Address that a $1 billion LCF would be set up to support projects that would contribute to the overall conservation of Lantau. The Chairperson of the LCF Advisory Committee, Prof. Kenneth Leung, explains that the LCF consists of two parts: $500 million for minor local improvement works and $500 million for conservation and related projects. The former will be spent on various minor local improvement works to be carried out by the Government on government land in Lantau, with a view to conserving or enhancing the Lantau environment, such as enhancing the accessibility to rural areas, and enhancement and rehabilitation of the natural environment, habitats and buildings. The first batch of minor local improvement works will be carried out in the first half of this year (2021) at the earliest. (The video is in Cantonese) Funding for conservation and related projectsConservation and related projects cover the natural environment, ecology, culture, history, rural character, landscape, geomorphology and other relevant elements. Prof. Kenneth Leung says that quite a lot of land of ecological significance in Lantau is privately owned. In order to enhance the effectiveness of conservation, the LCF encourages collaboration among NGOs, the community and landowners to carry out projects in areas such as nature conservation, cultural conservation or village revitalisation; undertake conservation-related scientific research, or culture and local history research; and implement conservation-related activities for community involvement, education and promotion.Application for the first round of conservation and related projects began in December 2020. Vetting results are expected to be announced by the third quarter of 2021. Institutions or organisations interested in applying for funding can visit LCF’s website.

Kai Tak Sky Garden is open to public

The Kai Tak Sky Garden is an elevated landscaped deck located atop Shing Fung Road, a carriageway running along the centre of the former runway. Not only does the landscaped deck act as a noise mitigation measure, but it is also a “green connector” that links up the landmarks in the vicinity. The Sky Garden will be connected to the future Metro Park to the north, the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, the Kai Tak Runway Park and the future Tourism Node development to the south, as well as the planned developments on both sides of the garden and the promenade on both sides of the former runway. The architecturally innovative and aesthetically unique deck is the first sky garden in Hong Kong that is situated on noise barriers designed with a curved and wavy pattern. It also creates a top-quality public space and serves as a place-making icon, emblematic of the vision for Kai Tak to become “a distinguished, vibrant, attractive and people-oriented new development area by the Victoria Harbour”. The theme of aviation The Kai Tak Sky Garden is designed by the Civil Engineering and Development Department. Encapsulating the theme of aviation, the Sky Garden brings visitors the nostalgia of the former Kai Tak Airport. Let’s take a look together! “Time-limited” AR and “check-in spots” A “time-limited” 3D augmented reality mobile application game and suggested “check-in spots” are available in the Sky Garden, providing visitors with opportunities for unleashing photographic inspiration and enhanced recreational experience. For more information on the Kai Tak Sky Garden and how to get there, please click here to visit the website.

Introduction of new technology for works by Civil Engineering and Development Department

Innovation and technology development is a dominant global trend. The Government has been encouraging the construction industry to adopt new technologies. Under the ongoing implementation of the Kai Tak Development (KTD), the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) is now constructing a pedestrian subway linking Shing Kai Road and Choi Hung Estate to facilitate pedestrian access between Kai Tak and its neighbourhood. The project has introduced the Rectangular Tunnel Boring Machine (RTBM) technology for the first time to enhance works safety and efficiency. The boring works have been successfully completed and here colleagues of the CEDD will share with us this new technology and how to use it to overcome various challenges of the project.The project is challengingThe pedestrian subway has a total length of 140 metres, with a height of 2.8 metres and a width of 3.9 metres. Project Manager of the East Development Office of the CEDD, Mr LEUNG Chung-lap, Michael, says the subway passes through the busiest traffic routes in East Kowloon, such as the flyover of the Kwun Tong Bypass and Prince Edward Road East. It also has to weave around the piles of the flyover without affecting its foundation structure, and pass closely through major underground utilities, including large-scale stormwater box culverts, district cooling system pipes, large diameter sewers and fresh water pipes, as well as high voltage power lines. The project is, therefore, full of challenges. Introduction of the first RTBMMr Michael LEUNG says the conventional tunnelling method of installing temporary support while excavating on-site is associated with relatively high risks. After detailed consideration, the CEDD has decided to introduce the first RTBM to Hong Kong for the project. The new technology is wholly operated by mechanical means to eliminate manual digging, enhance works safety and improve the working environment while it can also reduce the impacts of excavation works on surrounding facilities. Besides, since the tunnel segments are prefabricated off-site, it not only enhances the quality and efficiency but also saves the construction time needed. 90-tonne cutterhead to bore into the subwayRegarding the subway boring process, the CEDD’s Senior Engineer, Mr CHU Chi-hong, Keith, says the workers are to first construct a launching shaft for the installation of hydraulic jacks, a cradle and the RTBM. After that, the prefabricated tunnel segments are hoisted individually into the launching shaft and placed on the cradle therein. The hydraulic jacks would then push each segment forward until it is up against the previous one already in place in the boring machine. Meanwhile, the cutterhead of about 90 tonnes, which is equivalent to the total weight of about four fully loaded double-decked buses, started to operate and bore forward. This procedure repeats until the cutterhead has reached the receiving shaft at the other end of the tunnel. Computerised Auto-control SystemMr Keith CHU tells us that the whole tunnelling system is equipped with a computerised control system. The system monitors the speed of the RTBM’s main cutter disk and four auxiliary cutter disks, the propulsion speed of the hydraulic jacks, as well as directional positioning and earth pressure balance on a real-time basis throughout the process, thereby preventing ground loss and seepage during excavation to ensure the surrounding facilities are not affected by the works. The entire subway is formed by 92 segments, each weighing about 30 tonnes. These tunnel segments are prefabricated at the yard set up by the CEDD at Muk On Street adjacent to the site for easier transportation, better productivity and enhanced quality. Linking the past with the futureFollowing the successful excavation works, the entire subway is scheduled for completion in the middle of 2021. It is really encouraging to know that the next project, a pedestrian subway linking the KTD to Kowloon City, will also apply the RTBM technology. Construction has also begun already. The experience gained from this first use of the RTBM will serve as good reference for the new project. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese)

New Territories cycle track network - 20 scenery spots along the way

The Government strives to implement the cycle track network project in the New Territories (NT), with an aim of connecting the scattered cycle tracks in the NT East and West to provide more choices for public enjoyment. The Tuen Mun to Ma On Shan backbone section of the NT Cycle Track Network is fully open in 2020. The 20 scenery spots This 60-kilometre long cycle track section is characterised by distinctive features, with special emphasis on safety and landscaping design, as well as provision of supporting facilities such as cycling entry/exit hubs and resting stations. Now, let’s take a look at which 20 scenery spots makes this cycle track so attractive! For more information, please visit the "NT Cycle Track Network" thematic website.

Pier improvement projects

The Government has earlier put forward a Pier Improvement Programme (PIP) to improve the facilities of public piers in remote areas to facilitate the public and tourists to access outing destinations and natural heritage sites, and to respond to local requests for meeting the basic needs of villagers that rely on boats as their main transport mode and supporting fishermen’s operation. 10 pier improvement projects in the first phaseAt present, there are more than 100 public piers in Hong Kong. Although the Government has been carrying out regular inspections and maintenance to ensure structural integrity of these piers, some of them require the soonest improvement as they are starting to age after being in service for years, or because they are unable to cope with the current operational needs. Apart from enhancing the structural integrity of the piers in phases, the PIP will also improve existing facilities and provide ancillary facilities. The first phase covers 10 remote public piers in the New Territories and outlying islands, including those located within the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark at Tung Ping Chau, Lai Chi Wo, Sham Chung, Lai Chi Chong, High Island, etc.The CEDD has already carried out technical feasibility studies and preliminary designs for the pier improvement projects under the first phase of the PIP. Environmental impact assessments are in progress for some projects located within environmentally sensitive areas like marine parks. Reconstruction of Pak Kok Pier on Lamma IslandThe Pak Kok Pier is located at the northern part of Lamma Island. The pier was first built by villagers and reconstructed in the 1970s and 1990s. Now used by around 400 ferry passengers daily, the pier does not allow for a gangplank to be placed due to its primitive design. Instead, boats can only berth head-on for passengers to embark and disembark at the bow, leaving the boats susceptible to rough sea conditions. The berthing situation is unsatisfactory and reconstruction is called for an improvement.According to the engineer of the CEDD Ms Eunice HUI, the existing Pak Kok Pier will maintain normal operation during reconstruction. Upon commissioning, the new pier will not only provide more berthing spaces but also allow boats to berth side-on, making boarding and alighting easier and safer. Besides, the new pier will come with new design and ancillary facilities, such as a roof cover, a ramp, seats, WiFi, a drinking fountain, etc.Striving to advance the implementation of the second phaseThe CEDD has consulted local communities and stakeholders on the first phase of the PIP. The public have shown welcome and support to the PIP, and some have suggested expanding its scale and accelerating its implementation. Villagers expecting the works to commence soonThe indigenous inhabitant representative, Mr CHOW Hing-fook, who has been living in Pak Kok San Tsuen for more than 75 years, says the Pak Kok Pier is rather dilapidated after years of usage and villagers are looking forward to its reconstruction. In his opinion, as the new pier is designed by professionals, its facilities will provide convenient access for old villagers, while wheelchair users can wheel up to the side of a boat to get aboard. Trusting that the new pier will be very useful to villagers, he hopes the works will commence as soon as possible.Hong Kong is home to the world-famous Geopark, marine parks, historical heritage, and eco-tourism attractions, which are well-received among tourists. Some of the piers after improvement can not only facilitate residents in remote areas to travel, but also support green tourism advocated by the Government, including cultural tourism, geo-tourism and eco-tourism, so as to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of the outing destinations and natural heritage. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)

“Mountain cutting and rock breaking” (rock blasting and breaking)

Colleagues from the Mines Division of the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) will take us to Lam Tei Quarry in Tuen Mun, which is the only existing quarry operating in Hong Kong, to appreciate the quarry operation and the work of the Mines Division in supervising   the use of explosives for “mountain cutting and rock breaking” (rock blasting and breaking) in the quarry.Lam Tei Quarry was established in the 1960’s and has operated under contract since 1982.  The quarry is located about 3 km north of Tuen Mun New Town, covering an area of about 30 hectares.  According to the Senior Geotechnical Engineer of the Mines Division, Mr HUNG Kin-chung, Roy, the quarry has been operating for about 40 years, presently accounting for 5% of the total supply of rock products used in Hong Kong.  Operation of Lam Tei Quarry is scheduled for completion in 2023, when the site will be released for development use.Quarry not only to produce rock productsA quarry can produce about 70,000 tonnes of rock products each month. Following drilling and blasting of a rock mass, the blasted rock will be carried by trucks/conveyors from the blast location to rock crushers for crushing, screening and sorting into aggregates or other rock products in different sizes for construction uses, including production of concrete and asphalt.Aggregates are essential for the production of concrete and asphalt.  Integrating the production lines of concrete and asphalt with quarrying as a one-stop operation in a quarry can achieve a better efficiency in handling/moving of rock aggregates for   processing to the concrete or asphalt. It also saves time, lowers costs and reduces carbon emissions.  Besides, quarries can also help to receive the surplus rock generated from local construction projects and recycling it into useful aggregates and other rock products. From manual stone breaking to rock blastingQuarrying in old days was labour intensive. Workers would have to manually break up a large rock blocks, using hammers, chisels and steel wedges, into aggregates in different sizes for use, the process of which is called “stone breaking”.  At that time, limited considerations were given to the safety and health of workers, as well as the environmental impact of the quarry operations.  However, the situation has improved since the 1960s when the Government enacted new regulations to better control the use of explosives and the workplace safety in quarries.Stone breaking is no longer used in quarrying. Nowadays, “controlled blasting” will be used for rock extraction from a rock mass.  According to the Explosives Officer 1 of Mines Division, Mr TSE Wai-tong, the current blasting techniques have been well developed to make blasting safe and efficient.  Nevertheless, quarry operators are required to apply for and obtain approval from Mines Division for blasting to ensure that the blast design, arrangement and monitoring plan are in line with the safety and environmental standards prior to the proposed blast.Mr TSE Wai-tong also pointed out that no matter how big a blast is, its impact cannot be ignored and safety issues should never be discarded.   Protective measures such as blasting cages and vertical screens would have to be provided at the blast locations, with a view to protecting against flyrock (projected rock fragments) affecting workers and adjacent facilities.Mitigation of environmental impactsAccording to Senior Explosives Officer of the Mines Division, Mr LEUNG Pak-ming, before the cartridge explosives and detonators are placed in predrilled blast holes at the blast location, the Mines Division will deliver the required explosives from the Government Explosives Depots to the site at the contractor’s request. In order to minimise the environmental impacts of vibration, air overpressure and noise due to blasting, delayed firing at each blast hole can be carried out using detonators suitably arranged at different time delays.According to Mr LEUNG Pak-ming, blasting is required for rock excavation in many infrastructure projects involving site formation works, tunneling, etc. In order to facilitate  blasting by early morning, colleagues may have to start work in the early hours after midnight. Regarding the working environment, they may have to work underground (e.g. in deep excavations or tunnels) where the environment is hot and stuffy. The discomfort, particularly when carrying heavy equipment, is beyond description.Whether the Anderson Road Quarry, which has just accomplished its historical mission, or Lam Tei Quarry, being the only quarry still operating, many workers have taken part in the activities of “mountain cutting and rock breaking”. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese)  (The video is provided by Development Bureau)

Landslide Emergency Services and Slope Maintenance Teams (Civil Engineering and Development Department)

"My grandpa and uncle are engineers. As a kid, they nurtured my interest in this area. Back then, whenever I saw tunnels, I found them so remarkable. I was always wondering why a tunnel would not collapse." Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Fung Ka-wing told us."Hong Kong has lots of mountains and little flat land, and the population density is high. Every year, the Geotechnical Engineering Office receives about 300 reports on landslides." "Once, I arrived at a landslide site and I received a message at the same time that Super Typhoon Mangkhut would approach Hong Kong soon. I urged the villagers to move out temporarily as it was very dangerous. At first, the villagers did not listen to my recommendation. But I explained the situation to them patiently. Finally, they accepted it."He said, "Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the general public. We believe that they can feel it too." Hong Kong has a land area of about 1,100 km2. Around 60% of the land area consists of relatively steep natural terrain. During the rainy season, landslides occur frequently, with an average of 300 reported landslides in Hong Kong each year.The Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) has a slope safety management system in place to protect the general public from landslide hazards.When the Hong Kong Observatory issues a Landslide Warning or typhoon signal no. 8 or above, the Emergency Control Centre of the Geotechnical Engineering Office will be in operation.Over ten geotechnical engineers and technical officers will be on duty to provide geotechnical advice to government departments on handling landslide emergencies.Upon receiving landslide reports, geotechnical engineers will carry out site inspections and give advice to government departments to restore services and facilities disrupted by landslides.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Ting Sui-man said, "Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the general public. If rescue work is required, we will collaborate with the Fire Services Department and provide advice to the Police on the areas to be cordoned off. We will also contact responsible works departments to carry out emergency slope works. It includes promptly covering the slopes with tarpaulin to prevent rainwater infiltration which may cause further landslides."When more serious landslides occur, the work of the geotechnical engineers will be even more hectic. In the evening of 29 August 2018, a massive landslide hit a road section of Fan Kam Road near Ta Shek Wu Tsuen. Both lanes of Fan Kam Road were closed due to inundation of debris and muddy water on the road.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Fung Ka-wing said, "When I arrived at the site, the landslide debris from the hillside covered the entire road. The debris was up to knee level. I urged the villagers to move out temporarily."Resident, Angelina Yeung said, "I heard a “boom” and all of a sudden the debris rushed to near my house, and a van was bumped in. The Geotechnical Engineering Office used concrete blocks to build a barrier around the slope, covered the slope surface with tarpaulin and shotcrete the landslide scar."Angelina Yeung continued, "A lot of elderly people live here. They (CEDD) did a lot of works, some beyond their scope. They have been really helpful. And we are so grateful to them."The day after the landslide, staff of the Geotechnical Engineering Office and Survey Division visited the site again.They used drones and handheld laser scanners to quickly conduct landslide risk assessment. Detailed geographical data of the nearby natural terrain were collected, providing useful information for the design of emergency works.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Choi Wai-kwok, Michael explained, "The data collected on site, i.e. the three-dimensional image, enabled our engineers to carry out landslide hazard study and to assess whether there is any immediate or long term landslide risk. Based on the estimated size and volume of potential further landslides, suitable engineering works would be carried out accordingly, such as the installation of soil nails and flexible barrier to protect Fan Kam Road at slope toe."Fan Kam Road is the main road connecting Fanling and Kam Tin. The landslide took place just before the school re-opening in September. To restore the road service as quickly as possible and to minimise disruption to the residents, the Geotechnical Engineering Office worked closely with the Highways Department. Immediate action was taken to mobilise the contractors to carry out emergency repair work at the critical location.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Lo Ho-pong said, "Most of the landslide debris was accumulated at the mid-level of the hillside, posing subsequent landslide danger. The biggest challenge was how to deal with these debris. Our target was to re-open at least one lane of the road to cope with the traffic on the first day of school."He continued, "We discussed with our contractors and engineers on how to optimise the design to ensure that the construction works could be completed by 10 p.m. that night."Immediately after completion of Stage 1 emergency works, Stage 2 works was also successfully completed within the next two weeks. All these emergency works were essential for  preventing more severe landslides from happening when Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong.Actually, there are some other works of the Geotechnical Engineering Office that are closely related to the daily life of the general public.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Chu Kei-hong said, "CEDD operates 90 raingauges in Hong Kong, which account for the majority amongst all government departments. The rainfall data collected by these raingauges enable us to have a clear picture of the rainfall condition of Hong Kong. This facilitates our joint decision with the Hong Kong Observatory on the issue or cancellation of a Landslide Warning."Chief Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Yeung Fei, Jenny said, "We are now facing the challenge of extreme rainfall events caused by global warming. We must stay alert, and cannot slack off. We will keep striving our best to serve the public, and to protect their lives and properties from the threats of landslides." (For more details, please visit Sevice Excellence Website)

Pressing ahead with the implementation of the New Territories Cycle Track Network

City dwellers have become more aware of healthy living. Cycling, which integrates exercise and recreation, is most suitable for the whole family to participate in. The Government has been committed to developing a comprehensive cycle track network in the New Territories (NT) to provide a cycle track connecting the east and west of the NT for leisure and recreation purposes in order to improve people’s quality of living. Here the colleagues of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) will introduce this new cycle track with a total length of about 82 kilometres (km) upon completion and share its design concept and characteristics.A cycle track running through the east and west of the NTIn recent years, the Government has been striving to implement the NT Cycle Track Network project, which will link up the individual cycle track sections currently scattered in the NT to provide a continuous east-west cycle track in the NT by improving the existing cycle tracks and constructing new ones. Senior Engineer of the CEDD, Mr CHU Wai-lun, Thomas, says the comprehensive NT Cycle Track Network broadly comprises two backbone sections: the one from Tuen Mun to Ma On Shan is about 60 km long (starting from Tuen Mun in the west and reaching Ma On Shan in the east via Yuen Long, Sheung Shui, Fanling, Tai Po and Sha Tin), and the other from Tsuen Wan to Tuen Mun is about 22 km long (to be built along the seafront between Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun). Yuen Long – Sheung Shui section completedAt present, the sections from Tuen Mun to Yuen Long and from Sheung Shui to Ma On Shan have been completed and are open to the public. Regarding the cycle track section that connects the two sections, i.e. the track section that runs from Yuen Long to Sheung Shui, the part along Yau Pok Road in Yuen Long was opened to the public. The remaining parts have been opened and the entire 60 km-long backbone section between Tuen Mun and Ma On Shan is completed. Based on the cycling speed of the general public, it will take about six hours to complete the entire route. And that will satisfy the leisure needs of the enthusiastic riders.Meanwhile, the CEDD has been taking forward the implementation of the backbone section of the cycle track between Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun. According to Mr Thomas CHU, the section between Tsing Tsuen Bridge and Bayview Garden in Tsuen Wan is expected to be completed and open to the public early next year.Beautiful scenery along the cycle track alignmentEngineer of the CEDD, Mr CHIU Chi-ho, Derek, introduces the characteristics of the newly opened cycle track section running along Yau Pok Road to Pok Wai South Road in Yuen Long. He says that in the selection of the alignment of the route, priority was given to spots with beautiful scenery and cultural elements, such as Kam Tin River in Yuen Long and Tai Fu Tai in San Tin, to enhance the appeal of the track. At the same time, the project team had considered the impacts of the cycle track alignment on the residents, environment and ecology in the vicinity, so as to optimise its design to avoid affecting some conservation areas, bird habitats, etc. Safety and environment beautification taken into design considerationAccording to Mr Derek CHIU, the Government attaches great importance to safe cycling. In the design of the cycle track, the project team has considered its width, gradient and curvature, and provided proper traffic signs, road markings and guard rails at suitable locations to protect the safety of cyclists and other road users. Furthermore, wherever technically feasible, cycle bridges and cycle subways are provided to minimise the need for cyclists to get off their bicycles to cross the roads.It is equally important to beautify the environment. The project team has specifically arranged the planting of flowers that blossom all year round alongside the cycle track. Apart from preserving as far as possible the existing trees next to the cycle track, hundreds of new trees and tens of thousands of shrubs have been planted to create a green environment in the community. The railings along the cycle track have been specially painted with patterns of rolling hills to blend in harmoniously with the natural surroundings.Additional ancillary facilities to provide a comfortable environmentTo create a comfortable cycling environment, Mr Derek CHIU says that the department has also provided ancillary facilities for the cyclists, such as resting stations with bicycle parking spaces to allow cyclists to take a rest or visit nearby attractions before continuing their journey. Cycling entry/exit hubs are also provided in the vicinity of MTR stations such as Sheung Shui Station and University Station for cyclists to gather or disband. The hubs provide facilities such as bicycle rental kiosks, bicycle parking spaces, first aid stations, refreshment kiosks and toilets. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)

Mother's Day Series: Geotechnical Engineer Ms TING Sui-man

Here we would like to introduce to you a colleague from the government who is also a good mother, Ms TING Sui-man. Ms TING Sui-man, joined the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) as Geotechnical Engineer back in 2011. She has worked in two different divisions, both of which are related to landslide emergency services. A petite and cheerful lady, Ms TING is “Ting Ting” to her colleagues. Coordinating Landslide Emergency Services Currently, Ms TING is mainly responsible for assisting in the coordination of the GEO’s landslide emergency services. With over 200 geotechnical engineers and technical officers working shifts, the GEO provides 24-hour emergency services all year round to give geotechnical advice to government departments on contingency actions to be taken in case of danger arising from landslides. The GEO will, among others, assess the situation at scene and advise whether closure of roads, evacuation of residents from the affected buildings, and urgent repair works should be implemented. When a landslip warning or typhoon signal number 8 or above has been issued by the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), the GEO’s Emergency Control Centre (ECC) in the Civil Engineering and Development Building at Homantin will be activated to handle landslide incidents, safeguard public safety, and assist government departments to restore public facilities affected by the incidents. Ms TING is responsible for the coordination of various supporting activities, such as deployment of staff to work shifts, ensuring the proper functioning of equipment and helping in the dispatch of geotechnical engineers to the landslide scenes as soon as possible for assessment. Therefore, she must be prepared to start her work anytime during the entire rainy season. Furthermore, she is also responsible for the arrangement of training on landslide emergency services for colleagues. As a matter of fact, the GEO has introduced virtual reality environment for such training this year. Climbing mountains and wading rivers under the scourging sun and in the rain Having been a geotechnical engineer for years, for a period of time in her career, Ms TING had to make a long and difficult journey to work in some remote areas. Her first position in the GEO was to operate the Landslip Warning System and manage the raingauges operated by the GEO. There are about 90 GEO automatic raingauges all over Hong Kong, with some located in places as far as Fan Lau in Lantau Island, Po Toi Island and Tap Mun. As decisions on whether to issue a landslip warning are made jointly by the HKO and GEO with reference to data collected from raingauges and other information, Ms TING and technical officers have to build and repair raingauges under the scourging sun or in the rain from time to time. This is not an easy task according to Ms TING.Motivation comes from her children A mother of a son and a daughter, Ms TING admits that she is inevitably feeling stressed as she has to fulfil the heavy commitments of both work and family life, which includes meeting her children’s education needs. That said, her children are her biggest motivation. After a day of work, her son would offer his arm for her head to rest on, while her daughter would say she is looking for a book named “100 ways to be happy” to cheer her up. Ms TING says that she does not want to be a “monster mom”, so she would never require her children to be at the top of the class, or to participate in too many talent training programmes. She wants them to be able to grow up in a relaxed and happy environment. Smilingly, she says that some of her fondest moments are seeing her children coming back from school, sweating a lot with dishevelled hair, showing that they must have had a good day at school. However, she does have a certain level of expectation on her children’s moral values, especially as our society is so full of temptations. She hopes that her children will “keep a moral compass”, whereby they can distinguish right from wrong and know what should or should not be done. She believes that by having the right thoughts, taking the right action and saying the right words, they will lead a life of abundance and success.To maintain public safety, they need to remain unfazed and always get prepared to offer emergency service in times of inclement weather. On top of that, they are also shouldering family responsibilities. We hope that everyone will continue to provide unlimited support and encouragement for all the hard-working, good mothers on earth, whether it is Mother’s Day or not. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)

Technical Officer

The CEDD aims to contribute to society in the development of its infrastructure and in other efforts to keep the environment green and sustainable. It also aims to establish Hong Kong as a city of infrastructural safety. Mannix and Amanda, two technical officers in the CEDD, shared their feelings about the job. Thanks to the experimental work they do on a daily basis, they have become prudent and organized. Let us take a look at this challenging profession which is closely related to our everyday life. Organisation chartOfficial recruitment page

Geotechnical Engineer

Owing to its mountainous terrain, Hong Kong is predisposed to flooding and landslides. Protecting our citizens from these natural hazards is the job of not only the disciplinary forces, but also the geotechnical engineers, who are responsible for monitoring every landslide black spot to make high-precision assessment of landslides. Striving to protect the lives of local citizens, Jenny Yeung demonstrates how women can equal men in their fearless performance as geotechnical engineers in the face of the dangers of natural disasters. Organisation chartOfficial recruitment page

Civil Engineer

To many, being an engineer simply requires an aptitude for making complex calculations and wholehearted commitment to construction site work. However, Sunny Sun, a civil engineer at the Civil Engineering and Development Department, will tell you that his job involves not only working on construction sites, but also reaching out to the public, so that in the planning process he can contribute to building our city with a human touch. Organisation chartOfficial recruitment page