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Safety Concerns Plague China Megaproject

Friday, April 13, 2018

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As the completion of the massive Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge reportedly nears, leaders in Hong Kong are assuaging fears about the safety of the 34-mile-long bridge-tunnel.

HKZM tunnel island
HKZM Bridge Authority

The concrete blocks, known as dolosse, that are meant to protect the island from waves, appear to be breaking away from the island in a manner unlike the renderings of the structure.

The HKZM, touted as the world’s longest sea bridge and controversial for its cost overruns and construction casualties, was subject to a press preview conducted by officials from China late last month, but this week the headlines in the region center on photos of the concrete blocks meant to protect an artificial island at one of the sites where the roadway dives under the sea.

Loss of Dolosse

The concrete blocks, known as dolosse, that are meant to protect the island from waves, appear to be breaking away from the island in a manner unlike the renderings of the structure. The authority in charge of the bridge and tunnel, a joint project of China and the administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, says the blocks are operating as they are meant to.

According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said publicly this week that the bridge’s design is “scientifically proven” to be safe, and that the public should not doubt the project’s safety just because “some individuals have taken photos, or made comments.”

But the district’s Secretary for Transport and Housing said his agency is taking more time to gather facts before giving a public explanation of the phenomenon.

Public concern was raised with the publication of photos of the island in which the dolosse appears to be partially submerged; some questioned whether the safeguard was already eroding. The authority, though, says the concrete blocks are working as they were meant to, becoming submerged in a “random manner,” so as not to put too much pressure on the artificial island.

The authority says the contractor followed the project engineers' plans and the project passed inspection in February.

Past Problems

The HKZM project, which has been ongoing for more than nine years, has been involved in its share of controversial incidents, including:


Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Infrastructure; Quality control

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