Route 3 construction has been a massive project in recent years, including extensive tunnels and the Ting Kau cable stayed bridge, opened last year. But it will be saturated by 2006 and the alternative Route 9 to the airport is needed. The £1bn, 7.6km route will begin on site in 2002, completing in about 2006 depending on the finishing of reclamation works.
Focal point of Route 9-West will be Stonecutters Bridge, in one of the most prominent locations in Hong Kong. 'We are proposing a design competition,' says Lloyd. 'It will be very visible from many parts of Hong Kong and we should get the best possible, aesthetically pleasing bridge.
'A suspension bridge would be good, but it would be difficult to build as the reclamation needed for the northern pier and anchorage would not be in place for some time,' Lloyd explains. This reclamation is to be implemented by the operator for the new container terminal, Number 9.
'That could point to a cable stayed bridge. But it would produce a bridge longer than anything built as a cable stay before, by a long margin,' says Lloyd. The span would be 1,000m, against Pont de Normandie's 856m. 'It would be pushing technology and would make for a very interesting exercise.' The drama would be increased by its 73.5m clearance to cater for the next generation of container ships.
The advantage of cable stayed construction in this particular location is that the southern pier and superstructure could be almost completed without the northern pier in place. Thus the delay caused by the reclamation works would have less impact.
A design competition is due to be launched in the second half of this year. Entries will be invited from around the world, with 16 or so firms submitting proposals for assessment on technical and aesthetic merit. Four to six would be given say £85,000 to work up their designs, with a further prize for the victor.
A consultancy contract has been let to Ove Arup & Partners which will carry out detailed design for the Nam Wan tunnel and Ngong Yuen Chau viaduct, and supervise construction. A separate management contract will be let for design and construction supervision of Stonecutters Bridge, with co- ordination by Arup.
Route 9-East includes two tunnels, Eagle's Nest and Sha Tin heights. A design and construct supervision consultancy is due to be awarded before the end of June.