Island drift threatens further delays in cross-border bridge

September 23, 2015 13:16
The reclaimed island has shifted about seven meters off center since construction began last year, according to the government. Photos: Bloomberg,

An artificial island that anchors a sea tunnel crossing has drifted out of position, threatening further delays in the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge project.

The HK$7 billion (US$903.2 million) reclamation project is unlikely to meet its end-2016 scheduled completion.

The 130-hectare island has shifted 20 meters, according to Apple Daily.

Former newspaper columnist Howard Winn, who first reported the finding in a blog post, is claiming construction engineers have been prohibited from discussing the problem. 

The reclaimed island is in open waters northeast of Hong Kong airport and anchors an undersea tunnel crossing.

The Highways Department said the island has moved about seven meters off-center since construction began last year.

Dr. Greg Wong, former chairman of the Hong Kong Society of Engineers, said the drift might have been due to faulty prospecting and inaccurate estimates.

These could have caused steel piles not being driven deep enough into the seabed.

He said construction should be stopped and the department should investigate and fix the problem.

Increasing the number of piles to strengthen the island might be one solution, he said.

The Highways Department said it is evaluating the project's completion date.

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