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  • Bridge island worries dismissed
        Date:2018-04-10 

    The Highways Department has dismissed all doubts about the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge's artificial islands, saying the designs are "scientific, safe and rational."

    Director of Highways Daniel Chung Kum-wah urged people to have confidence in the islands, adding they withstood the impact of Severe Typhoon Hato last year.

    After visiting both east and west artificial islands on Sunday, Chung, along with principal government engineer Raymond Kong Tai-wing, defended the bridge against skepticism from the media and the public.

    Chung stressed that after field observations and discussions with the Bridge Authority on Sunday, the department found the distribution of tetrapods and condition of breakwaters of both islands were in accordance with the design finalized in 2014.

    "The design is scientific, safe and rational," he said.

    "Typhoon Hato last year, which resulted in Signal No 10, pointed directly to Zhuhai. While it's a tough test, we still saw no dislocation of the breakwater, and so the public should be relieved."

    Chung added that the authority had done experiments, such as physical analogs, which showed that the breakwaters were scientific and safe.

    The department has also gone through construction plans and photos taken at different periods, confirming that the tetrapods stayed in their original places.

    Chung said he went into the immersed tunnels underneath the loosely distributed tetrapods and saw no displacement and water leakage as some media reports suggested.

    Speaking about the authority's explanation that all tetrapods were placed randomly in designated locations, Kong said the construction plan divided the sea surface into squares of 10 meters by 10 meters, and placed no less than 55 tetrapods into each of these 100 square meters.

    He said the tetrapods have two functions - block high waves from rushing into the islands and protect the immersed tubes underneath.

    Kong explained that most of the tetrapods with the second function are placed underwater, and have been placed 130 meters away from the island.

    He also assured that the tetrapods are strong enough to guard the islands from waves. The east island, he added, can withstand waves up to 8.5 meters high, while the west island can endure waves of up to 9.5 meters.

    Asked when the department realized the distribution pattern of the tetrapods, Chung said the authority had too much to handle.

    "If things are not problematic, the Bridge Authority won't report things that are trivial to us." Chung also said the department will not obtain all construction plans for supervision work.

    "We won't do it as we just confirm on a management level that the work was done according to the plan," he said.

    The department's briefing came after some veteran engineers voiced out concerns.

    Ngai Hok-yan said the tetrapods look badly placed. Ngai also expressed worries that the design may not withstand waves from the Pacific Ocean.



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