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Hong Kong leader says artificial islands are structurally stable

Zhuhai macao bridge artificial island render 3to2

Hong Kong’s leader has moved to calm fears about the structural stability of artificial islands, built as part of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge project, saying the viability of the structures is “scientifically proven”.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam reportedly made the comments in response to news reports that one of the island’s sea defences was drifting away.

The 36.3km long bridge links Hong Kong and China over the Zhujiang River Estuary. The two islands allow the rail line to transition between an above sea bridge to a tunnel, giving a wide channel for ships to pass through.

Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macao Crossing

Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macao Crossing

Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macao Crossing

The two islands’ sea defences are concrete blocks known as dolosse.

The confusion appears to stem from aerial photos of the island at high tide, giving the appearance of the blocks floating away from one the islands. This was then compared to a concept artists’ impression of the island which showed a regular pattern of blocks around its tip.

However, images taken during construction at low tide show a wide area around the end of the island covered with the blocks in a random pattern.

Bridge owner the Hong Kong -Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority, told the South China Morning Post that the blocks, were specially designed to be submerged in a “random manner”.

This it said, was because the island was connected to a tunnel, and a concentration of dolosse would exert too much pressure on it.

Lam told the South China Morning Post: “The stability of construction works is a scientifically proven thing, so I hope the press and commentators can read the experts’ explanations before making comments,” Lam said.

“I hope that just because some individuals had taken photos, or made some comments, that everyone will not jump in and doubt the project’s design.”

The newspaper said the government would now seek to dampen any remaining fears over the mega bridge by publishing “scientific” information to allow users to better understand the project’s design.

The bridge came into the spotlight last year after it emerged an investigation was underway to test concrete after an alleged falsification of original strength tests.

The bridge is due to open this year, although an official date has not yet been set.

The Hong Kong -Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority and Hong Kong government have been contacted for a response.

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