The opening of the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok in July 1998 marked the completion of the multi-project Airport Core Programme (ACP).
The airport is the central project in the 10-project ACP which has brought about major changes in the transport infrastructure and provided new land for various purposes, including housing.
Completion of the ACP is a remarkable achievement as work on the programme began in earnest only in 1991. Eight of the projects were completed on time and within budget in 1997, and the railway built to serve the airport was officially opened in June 1998.
A 34-kilometre transport corridor links the Central business district on Hong Kong Island to the new airport as well as to Tung Chung New Town, the first new town to be built on an outlying island.
Starting from Central, road travellers cross the harbour by the new tunnel running from Sai Ying Pun to the reclamation in West Kowloon, from where new highways lead to the landmark Lantau Link bridges which provide the first road connection to Lantau Island, and afford a spectacular view from high above the sea. A highway along north Lantau leads to the new town and then the new airport. The railway follows the same alignment, and crosses the Lantau Link on the enclosed lower deck.
Seven of the projects - involving the formation of new land and the construction of highways and a new town - have been funded and carried out by the Government as direct capital works projects.
The Western Harbour Tunnel Company Limited built the new cross-harbour road tunnel under a 30-year "build, operate and transfer" franchise.
Implementation of the projects has been overseen by the Government's New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office (NAPCO), operating under the auspices of the Works Bureau.
NAPCO introduced strict procedures for controlling costs and monitoring progress to ensure that projects were built on time and within budget. The application of these procedures during the design and construction stages gave maximum assurance that this aim would be achieved.
NAPCO provided overall programme management services in co-ordinating and guiding the implementation of the projects, and ensured that where projects interfaced the contract works proceeded in parallel as planned.
The office worked closely with the Government works departments and non-Government agencies that were building the projects, and reported directly to the Airport Development Steering Committee which had overall responsibility for guiding the implementation of the ACP.