Government committed to completing SSDS project (11/1/1999)

1 January 1997

Assistant Director/Sewage Services of the Drainage Services Department, Mr Raymond Cheung, has denied a report in a Chinese-language newspaper today (Monday) which seems to give an impression that the tunnelling work under the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme (SSDS) contracts is grinding to a halt.

"Of the six tunnels total length 23.5 km currently under construction, only the one between Tsing Yi and Stonecutters Island (3.58 km) is experiencing difficulties of weak rock condition which is affecting the progress of work. The progress of the other five tunnels is satisfactory," Mr. Cheung said.

"Although works on the original tunnel contracts started in 1994, it is incorrect to say that the works have been going on for four years. In fact, the tunnelling work had stopped since December 1996 when the Government decided to re-possess the contracts after the original contractors unilaterally suspended works in all six tunnels in mid-1996. The tunnelling work re-commenced only about one and a half years ago for the two western tunnels and about one year ago for the four eastern tunnels after the Government re-let the remaining works in three separate contracts in July 1997 and January 1998," he added.

The tunnel between Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi is expected to be completed by the end of this month while those from Tseung Kwan O to Kwun Tong and from Kwun Tong to To Kwa Wan are making an average progress of 50 to 70 metres per week.

"It is true that progress of tunnelling work between Tsing Yi and Stonecutters Island has been slow because of the presence of several zones of weak rocks. But the contractor has not stopped work as reported. On the contrary, the contract has been working on the most effective solutions in conjunction with our consultants to overcome the difficulties. Excavation for this tunnel is now about 25 per cent complete," Mr Cheung said.

"Tunnelling work requires a high degree of techniques and skill. As a matter of fact, dealing with the variable nature of rock is part and parcel of the tunnelling operation itself. Although progress of boring work on the Tsing Yi Stonecutters Island tunnel be determined by the actual geological conditions, we are doing our best to achieve the target of completing the SSDS Stage I project as a whole in the year 2000.

End/Monday, January 11, 1999


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