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10 of the most impressive civil engineering projects in Hong Kong

Date
01 February 2022

Join us as we list ten examples of incredible infrastructure in Hong Kong that have benefited the city and its population of 7.2 million people.

10 of the most impressive civil engineering projects in Hong Kong
These infrastructure accomplishments have boosted Hong Kong’s economy, increased connectivity, decreased air pollution, and more. Image credit: Soda N/Pexels

To ring in Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, we're shining a spotlight on the civil engineering of the location of one of ICE’s most active membership bases – Hong Kong.

From bridges to skyscrapers, and treatment schemes to water storage solutions, these infrastructure accomplishments have boosted Hong Kong’s economy, increased connectivity, decreased air pollution, among many other significant results.

Read on to find out our top 10 picks of Hong Kong civil engineering projects.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) Hong Kong Section

Image credit: Mervin Li/Shutterstock
Image credit: Mervin Li/Shutterstock

The HZMB is the longest bridge-cum-tunnel sea crossing in the world. It won the ICE People’s Choice Award in 2019.

The 55km-long bridge is the first cross-boundary land link connecting Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao, reducing the distance and travel time between them.

This has created a one-hour living circle in the Pearl River Delta region, which has boosted the Greater Bay Area’s economic development and enhanced Hong Kong’s position as a hub.

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Central Plaza

Image credit: Daniel Fung/Shutterstock
Image credit: Daniel Fung/Shutterstock

Central Plaza is a 374m-high office building in the Hong Kong business district. When it was completed in 1992, it was the tallest reinforced concrete building in the world. The skyscraper has a 360° observation deck on the 46th floor that is free to visit and offers an amazing view of the city.

The building has an unusual clock at the top of the tower. The clock features four different-coloured neon bars - it indicates the time by one of the bars illuminating on each quarter hour.

The structure also houses Sky City Church - the world's highest church inside a skyscraper.

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Tsing Ma Bridge

Image credit: Lander Lai/Pexels
Image credit: Lander Lai/Pexels

Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong is part of the Lantau Link, a road and rail scheme built to connect Lantau – Hong Kong’s biggest island – to the airport at Chek Lap Kok, also known as Hong Kong International Airport.

Designers at Mott MacDonald took inspiration from the 2,467m Forth Road Bridge in Scotland and the motorway suspension Severn Bridge between England and Wales to build this 2.2km-long structure.

The Tsing Ma Bridge is the eleventh longest suspension bridge in the world. The 41m-wide bridge has two decks and carries road and rail traffic.

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Kwun Tong rail extension

Image courtesy of HK CEDD
Image courtesy of HK CEDD

The Kwun Tong line extension (KTE) is a 2.6km long extension of the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR). The scheme was designed to improve transport efficiency for people living in the densely populated Ho Man Tin and Whampoa areas of the city-state.

Despite its name, Ho Man Tin station is not in the Ho Man Tin area – it’s in the lesser-known Lo Lung Hang area, about 1km away.

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Harbour Area Treatment Scheme

Image credit: Weerasak Saeku/Shutterstock
Image credit: Weerasak Saeku/Shutterstock

The Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS) is the largest environmental infrastructure project in Hong Kong’s history, implemented to restore the water quality of Victoria Harbour following decades of fast development.

With a population of 7.2 million, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities. Over 60% of people live around the Harbour, putting severe stress on its water quality. But since the commissioning of HATS, the water quality of the harbour has been greatly improved.

Several beaches, which had been closed due to poor water quality, were re-opened for public enjoyment. Hong Kong’s annual cross-harbour swimming race was re-convened after 40 years’ suspension, reviving an important memory for the Hong Kong community.

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Trio storm water storage

Image credit: ICE
Image credit: ICE

Hong Kong often sees very heavy rain, locally known as black rain, during its April to June rainy season. Recent years have seen very fierce downpours resulting in floods of up to 1 metre deep in some areas.

The Hong Kong government’s Drainage Services Department’s (DSD’s) Trio storm water scheme was designed to combat the seasonal flooding.

The project was innovative as it included the storage of storm water.

The Trio scheme saw underwater storage tanks built under existing sports pitches or parks in three central locations of Hong Kong: the Mongkok area, Sheung Wan, and Happy Valley.

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Hong Kong International Airport

Image credit: Sorbis/Shutterstock
Image credit: Sorbis/Shutterstock

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), also known as Chek Lap Kok airport, is the main airport in Hong Kong. Built on mainly reclaimed land, it opened in 1998 – replacing Kai Tak, the city-state’s previous air terminal.

The Airport Core Programme (ACP) involved not just a new airport but also a new transport link including roads, rail links, bridges and tunnels.

HKIA now handles 71 million passengers a year, making it the 8th busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic. It’s the world’s busiest by cargo traffic.

The airport was voted one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century at construction trade show ConExpo in 1999.

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Landslip prevention and mitigation programme

Image credit: Saiko3p/Shutterstock
Image credit: Saiko3p/Shutterstock

Hong Kong’s 7.2 million people-strong population is concentrated in a small land area – around 1,100km2. Much of this is natural terrain and there has always been a shortage of flat land to build on.

This led to a period of unregulated building of urban hillside developments and, therefore, landslides.

In 2010, the government launched the landslip prevention and mitigation (LPMit) programme. LPMit builds on the success of the landslide preventative measures (LPM) scheme from 1977 and aims to upgrade 150 substandard slopes every year to modern safety standards.

The LPMit scheme has reduced the chance of landslides in Hong Kong by 75%.

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West Kowloon Station (Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link)

Image credit: Estherpoon/Shutterstock
Image credit: Estherpoon/Shutterstock

The West Kowloon station (WKS) is the only station on the Hong Kong side of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL), which connects Hong Kong to mainland China in just 40 minutes.

Equipped with 15 tracks, WKS is the largest and deepest underground station in the world.

It has become a prominent feature of the Kowloon skyline, featuring a dramatic steel and glass structure that connects to other station via a series of pedestrian bridges and underpasses.

The station was built on reclaimed land, and while it’s 30m deep underground, the station is illuminated by daylight. This was achieved by using innovative architectural and structural design to create the shell-like dome that rises out the earth.

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Mass Transit Railway (MTR)

Image credit: Enric Cruz López/Pexels
Image credit: Enric Cruz López/Pexels

The 212km-long mass transit railway (MTR) opened in 1980. With 159 stations and 11 lines, it serves urban areas in Hong Kong island, Kowloon and the New Territories. More than 5m journeys are made on the Hong Kong MTR every day.

The MTR is known as one of the cleanest public transport systems in the world. Along with the rest of the network, handrails and escalators on the KTE are given a special anti-bacterial coating to reduce the spread of germs.

It also claims to be one of the most reliable, with 99.9% of its trains arriving on time.

Importantly for Disney fans, the MTR has a dedicated 3.5km-long line to get tourists to the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. The line’s train carriages feature Mickey Mouse-shaped windows and bronze figurines of Disney characters, including Jiminy Cricket and Donald Duck.

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  • Ana Bottle, assistant digital content editor at ICE