Third runway bogged down without marine sand, says Airport AuthorityLocal | 29 Apr 2019 6:47 pm
The Airport Authority of Hong Kong has admitted that a lack of marine sand from the mainland is slowing down the third runway project, saying this has led to an 18-week delay, RTHK reports.
But the schedule for opening the third runway in 2022 remains unchanged and officials said they do not foresee any cost overrun at this stage due to the delay.
The runway project originally needed 100 million cubic meters of marine sand to reclaim 650 hectares of land north of the airport and 90 million of this was to be sourced from outside Hong Kong, mainly from the mainland.
At a Legislative Council economic development panel meeting on Monday, the authority's executive director in charge of the HK$140 billion project, Kevin Poole, admitted that the contractor has not received a single grain of marine sand from the mainland.
He told lawmakers that through changes in the design and the use of more deep cement mixing to reclaim land, they have managed to reduce the need for marine sand by 20 percent.
Officials have been using manufactured sand as an alternative to continue with the reclamation, he said.
Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam was concerned that this would make the project more costly, saying the use of deep cement mixing is more expensive.
Poole said he did not have the exact figures, but said the technique has "a number of benefits.''
Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien, meanwhile, questioned whether officials had attempted to cover up the delay, noting that it was not mentioned in a press release issued in late February.
Poole denied there had been any cover-up.-Photo: RTHK