Airport Core Programme

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Tsing Ma Bridge, part of ACP

The Airport Core Programme (Chinese: 香港機場核心計劃) was a series of infrastructure projects centred on the new Hong Kong International Airport during the early 1990s. The programme was part of the Port and Airport Development Strategy, commonly known as the Rose Garden Project.

The cost for the whole project was estimated at over HK$200 billion, and the Chinese Government was concerned about its impact on the financial reserve of the future Hong Kong SAR Government. Several changes were made to the plan, including the shortening of the Tsing Ma Bridge and the construction of the Airport Railway as a double-track railway. The project ended up costing HK$160.2 billion (160,200,000,000).[1]

The Programme formally commenced after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between British Prime Minister John Major and Chinese Premier Li Peng in Beijing on 3 September 1991, and lasted 8 years in total. It was the most expensive airport project in the world, according to the Guinness World Records. It was the biggest infrastructure programme in Hong Kong's history.

History[edit]

Plans to replace the old Kai Tak Airport were drafted after the Second World War. However for financial and political reasons, the plan was abandoned in 1951 and the Hong Kong Government decided to expand the original airport instead.[2]

With the growth of the economy of Hong Kong during the 1970s, the project reemerged for discussion. The Government earmarked Chek Lap Kok, just off the north coast of Lantau Island near Tung Chung, as the designated site for the new airport. However, the plan was shelved in 1983 for economic reasons, as well as the question of Hong Kong's sovereignty and the impending signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.[2]

The plan was announced on 11 October 1989 by the then Governor David Wilson, and it was perceived to be part of the government's effort to reinstate confidence in Hong Kong after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The public was initially surprised by the huge budget and there were concerns that it would drain much of the public revenue.[3] The programme was completed with the opening of the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok in July 1998.[2]

The Ten Core Projects[edit]

The programme included:

Hong Kong International Airport[edit]

The Hong Kong International Airport is the centrepiece of this massive project; it provided the foundation for the other nine core projects of the Airport Core Programme.

Chek Lap Kok was selected as an optimal site due to its development potential. Construction finally started in 1992 and was planned to finish in mid-1997. Chris Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong, expressed his hope of leaving Hong Kong via the new airport after the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong. Sadly, this did not materialise. The airport finally came into operation on 6 July 1998, at a cost of around US$20 billion.[4]

Airport Railway[edit]

The Airport Railway was built to connect Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island to the Airport and the planned new towns of Northern Lantau. The railway is operated by the MTR Corporation and has two routes: the Airport Express and the Tung Chung Line which provides a commuter service linking the new town of Tung Chung to the city. These two lines share the same double-tracks for most of their routes, however, the railway was initially planned to have four tracks along its length. The commuter service offered by the Tung Chung Line also provided relief to the overcrowded Tsuen Wan Line of the MTR.

Lantau Link[edit]

Comprising Kap Shui Mun Bridge and Tsing Ma Bridge, the Lantau Link connects Lantau with Tsing Yi, via Ma Wan. It carries both road and railway traffic between the islands.

Western Harbour Crossing[edit]

This is the third cross-harbour tunnel for Victoria Harbour. Built under a build-operate-transfer agreement with the Western Harbour Tunnel Company, the tunnel was intended to relieve congestion at the Cross Harbour Tunnel and is part of expressway Route 3.

North Lantau Expressway[edit]

With the highest posted speed limit in Hong Kong, this 6-lane motorway links Tung Chung in the west to the Lantau Link in the east, via the north coast of Lantau.

Route 3 – Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi Sections[edit]

Route 3 is one of the 10 strategic expressway routes of Hong Kong, linking Sai Ying Pun on Hong Kong Island and Yuen Long in the New Territories. The Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi sections were built to link the Lantau Link and West Kowloon Expressway.

The Kwai Chung section is 3 km in length. The route connects with the West Kowloon Highway near Lai Chi Kok, then bypasses the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals, finally connecting with the Cheung Tsing Bridge of the Tsing Yi section. It is an 8-lane elevated motorway. This section is now known as Tsing Kwai Highway.

The Tsing Yi section comprises the 500 m long Cheung Tsing Bridge, which crosses over Rambler Channel, and the 1.6 km Cheung Tsing Tunnel, which cuts through the high ground on Tsing Yi Island. This section is now known as the Cheung Tsing Highway.

West Kowloon Highway[edit]

This is a 6-lane motorway 4.2 km in length with the northern 2 km elevated for the Airport Railway running underneath. It links the Kowloon portal of the Western Harbour Crossing in the south to the Tsing Kwai Highway in the north and is built entirely on newly reclaimed land.

Land Reclamation in West Kowloon[edit]

Reclamation work was needed along the west coast of Kowloon Peninsula to provide land for the expressway, Route 3, as well as supporting infrastructure. The Airport Railway also runs through the reclaimed land of West Kowloon. The reclamation work has increased the area of Kowloon Peninsula by 30%.

Central Reclamation Phase I[edit]

This phase required the reclamation of an area of 20 hectares along the waterfront of Central to provide land for the Airport Railway's Hong Kong Station. Two ferry piers serving outlying islands as well as a government dockyard had to be relocated to facilitate the work.

Phase I of North Lantau New Town[edit]

The first phase of the new town in Northern Lantau is centred on Tung Chung and was planned to provide housing to 18,000 people. The new town was meant to be a supporting community for the new Hong Kong International Airport, as well as to act as a "gateway" to Hong Kong for visitors. At present, phases I, II and IIIA of the new town have been completed, all around Tung Chung. When all 4 phases are completed, the new town will be home to 320,000 people, covering an area of 830 hectares between Tung Chung and the neighbouring area of Tai Ho.

Exhibition Centre[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Working Paper: Hong Kong: The Airport Core Programme and the Absence of Corruption". Transparency International. Retrieved 11 June 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c Sung Hin-lun (2003). A Hundred Years of Aviation in Hong Kong. Joint Publishing. ISBN 962-04-2188-4. 
  3. ^ "The New Airport and Aviation in Hong Kong: A New Perspective". Kai-sun Kwong. Archived from the original on 14 June 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2007. 
  4. ^ http://www.airport-technology.com/projects/cheklapkok_new/

External links[edit]