With globalisation still very much a buzz word, the race is on to develop infrastructure to support economic development across Asia Pacific.
Within Hong Kong, for the past dozen years, the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), has taken a leading role in all local projects.
CEDD was established in July 2004 through the amalgamation of the Civil Engineering Department and the Territory Development Department.
The routes of these two organisations trace back over many decades, the Civil Engineering Department had evolved through various stages of re-organisation of the then Public Works Department since the late 19th century, while the Territory Development Department had succeeded its former New Territories Development Department in taking forward both new town development and urban area development since early 1970’s.
“With the commitment of the HKSAR Government to speed up infrastructure development for promoting economic growth, we are actively undertaking the planning and implementation of various major development projects spanning the territory. The coming years will be very challenging to us when we shall bring these projects to fruition and enhance our services to the community at the same time. I believe we can rise to the challenge with our professional and dedicated colleagues working as a team.
“We are committed to providing high quality civil engineering services to meet Hong Kong’s development needs. To this end, we are taking forward our initiatives under our Strategic Plan to strive for excellence in engineering Hong Kong’s development and realise our Vision, Mission and Values,” asserts Mr. Lam Sai-hung, JP, Director of Civil Engineering and Development, on the organisation’s website.
Essentially, CEDD operates four primary functions: the provision of land and infrastructure; port and marine services; geotechnical services and environment and sustainability services.
“The Provision of land and infrastructure is one of the major service areas of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD).
“In the past, we carried out new town development to cope with the increase in population and to improve the living environment by decentralising the population from the over-crowded urban districts.
“Now, while we would continue to improve the new towns, we are developing New Development Areas (NDAs) and exploring new strategies to enhance land supply.
“We are also providing or upgrading infrastructure to support the development. The basic concept for developing a new town is to provide a balanced and self-contained community as far as possible in terms of the provision of infrastructure and community facilities.
“For major developments, new land will be formed and infrastructure will be provided to allow population growth, to decant existing population and to provide or upgrade facilities to enable the redevelopment of deserted areas. The functional, environmental and aesthetic aspects of the developments are given priority consideration,” CEDD describes in its information documents.
Hong Kong has developed 9 new towns since the initiation of its New Town Development Programme in 1973. The target at the commencement of the New Town Development Programme was to provide housing for about 1.8 million people in the first three new towns, namely, Tsuen Wan, Sha Tin and Tuen Mun.
To give some indication of the growth of Hong Kong, the population of back in 1973 was about 4.2 million. It is now about 7.3 million.
The nine new towns can be divided into three generations. The first (Tsuen Wan, Sha Tin and Tuen Mun) started works in the early 1970s; then the second (Tai Po, Fanling/Sheung Shui and Yuen Long) in the late 1970s; and the third (Tseung Kwan O, Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung) in the 1980s and 1990s.
Work remains ongoing and a planning and engineering study on the extension of the Tung Chung New Town commenced in January 2012. CEDD commenced the detailed design of the Tung Chung New Town Extension project in June 2016 is aiming to welcome the first population intake in late 2023.
Another major project underway has seen the department commence construction work on the Tseung Kwan O – Lam Tin Tunnel. With a completion date of 2021, the concept is to relieve traffic congestion.
Meanwhile, CEDD is looking at other land space offering the prospect of further new development areas (NDAs).
“Previous planning and development studies established the feasibility of developing NDAs in the New Territories, including Kwu Tung North, Fanling North, Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling (NENT NDAs) and Hung Shui Kiu (HSK NDA),” the company states.
The Kwu Tung North and Fanling North Outline Zoning Plans were approved in June 2015 to provide a statutory framework for the development. The detailed design for the advance works and the first stage works of the Kwu Tung North and Fanling North NDAs commenced in 2014 and remain ongoing.
The scope of the advance works and the first stage works primarily comprises the site formation and engineering infrastructure works at the NDAs, to enable construction of housing and community facilities for the first population intake by 2023 and to provide environmental mitigation measures as pre-requisites for the NDAs remaining packages. The major construction works are scheduled to start in 2018.
The Port ad Marine Services Department is responsible for the design and construction of various types of marine works, including public piers and waterfront promenades, including the upgrade of existing public piers and landing facilities, such as Sai Kung Public Pier and Sharp Island Pier.
“We maintain 109 beacons, 127 kilometres of seawalls, and 312 piers (including public piers, as well as franchised and licensed ferry piers).
“We carry out routine inspections of marine facilities to ensure that they are safe for public use. If the facilities are found in need of repair, we will arrange maintenance works, including concrete repair, fender repair and upgrading; and protective coating works to the marine facilities. To minimise disruption to ferry services and inconvenience to the public, we provide temporary berths or carry out the maintenance works after peak hours to maintain their operation,” CED explains on its website.
Work also extends to the regular maintenance dredging of fairways, anchorage areas, typhoon shelters and major river outlets to ensure navigation safety. Major maintenance dredging works have been carried out in Northern Fairway, Kwai Tsing Container Basin, Reserved Dangerous Goods Anchorage, Kellett Anchorage, Tuen Mun Typhoon Shelter, Shing Mun River and Tuen Mun River in recent years.
The Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) is responsible for a wide range of geotechnical engineering activities related to the safe and economic utilisation and development of land.
One of the most important functions is the implementation of the Landslip Prevention and Mitigation Programme (LPMitP), including planning and launching the projects, managing financial resources, monitoring works expenditure and progress, and appointing and managing consultants to undertake projects.
“We select potentially substandard man-made slopes and vulnerable natural hillside catchments for inclusion into the LPMitP and provide technical support to other departments with regard to preventive maintenance works.
“As part of the LPMitP, studies of high priority man-made slopes, retaining walls and natural hillside catchments are carried out to identify potential danger and the need for preventive and mitigation works. Where preventive, remedial or mitigation measures are needed for man-made slopes or natural hillside catchments that are under Government’s maintenance responsibility, detailed design and the necessary works will be carried out to reduce the landslide risk,” states the organisation.
The Environment and Sustainability Services department plays a wide-reaching role within Hong Kong.
“Greening works contribute to the improvement of air quality in addition to the aesthetic of an area. They are essential to the protection, rehabilitation and enhancement of our landscape and ecological environment, which helps create sustainable environmental outcomes,” CEDD affirms.
“Apart from fulfilling the functional requirements of the development projects, the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) has been actively promoting greening through a wide range of initiatives, including (1) development and implementation of the Greening Master Plans (GMPs); (2) greening works associated with infrastructure projects; (3) greening works associated with the Landslip Prevention and Mitigation works; (4) greening works for quarry rehabilitation; and (5) tree risk assessment and management.
“In mid-2011, we completed the greening works recommended in the GMPs for the urban areas. We commenced the greening works recommended in the GMPs for the southeast and northwest New Territories in December 2014 for completion by end 2017. In 2015, we planted about 660 trees and 520 000 shrubs in the southeast and northwest New Territories,” the organisation adds.
“We provide essential infrastructure to the public with the prime purpose of fulfilling the community’s growing need for enhanced safety, well-being and quality of living. To this end, most of our infrastructure projects include the provision of extensive planting schemes serving as landscape/ecological enhancement and impact mitigation measures.
“Such greening works involve planting in a variety of settings like roadsides, footbridges and flyovers, podiums, slopes, river channels and promenades. Some of the major infrastructure projects with extensive planting schemes included Wan Chai Development Phase II and Cycle Tracks Connecting North West New Territories with North East New Territories – Tuen Mun to Sheung Shui section (Stage 1). In 2015, approximately 290,000 plants were planted.”
The challenge to develop land in a sustainable and safe way for Hong Kong’s growing population, remains an imminent one.
In October 2016, news broke that CEDD was investigating ways to leverage the city’s unproductive brownfield land* for re-appropriation. The stock of brownfield land in the city consists of, among others, open storage, port–backup facilities, industrial workshops, logistics operations and recycling yards. The re-appropriated land would, if deemed suitable and safe, be transformed into multi-storey buildings to meet “growing demand for public housing and other social and economic development needs.”
CEDD appointed professional services firm Mott MacDonald to identify land sites with the potential for development, through a feasibility study for the transformation of brownfield locations. The firm is tasked with consulting development stakeholders, including the existing brownfield operators, government authorities and departments, as well as investigating the economic viability and operating models for the multi-storey buildings. The firm is also tasked with the “building design works, including undertaking planning and engineering assessments.”
CEDD’s origins date back over centuries, but it is an organisation very much with an eye on the future of Hong Kong.