LCQ13: Structural problems of footbridges

     Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, in the Legislative Council today (June 27):


     Some members of the public have recently relayed to me that when the authorities conducted acceptance tests for some footbridges, they found that some of the footbridge components had failed the tests and, as a result, the completion of these footbridges was delayed.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of projects with the aforesaid situation in each of the past three years; of the names and locations of these projects, as well as the numbers of days for which the completion dates of the projects had been deferred; and

(b) whether the Government will take measures, including the imposition of heavier penalty on contractors in respect of projects that fail the acceptance tests, so as to avoid the recurrence of the aforesaid situation; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     The reply to the two parts of the question is as follows:

(a) According to the records of the Highways Department (HyD), for the footbridges completed over the past three years, only one case involved delay in opening due to problems identified in certain components during the acceptance tests.  The project concerned is the footbridge project at Tai Ho Road, Tsuen Wan (Project 162TB), with the proposed footbridge connecting Tsuen Wan MTR station and the vicinity of Princess Alexandra Community Centre.

     At present, the construction works of the footbridge concerned have almost been completed.  The footbridge has originally been scheduled for opening in late May this year.  However, hairline cracks have been found at the connecting points of certain footbridge components during the acceptance tests conducted by the HyD.  To be prudent, the Department has immediately conducted detailed tests on the whole footbridge to ensure its safety.

     The HyD estimates that the detailed checking of the footbridge can be completed within July this year at the earliest.  The Department will assess and analyse the checking results and propose appropriate follow-up actions with a view to opening the footbridge as soon as possible.

(b) The HyD has always attached great importance to the quality control of footbridge projects.  Professional staff from the consultants on site are required to closely monitor the construction procedures of the contractors during construction, so as to ensure the compliance of safety standards and requirements of the footbridge works.  The HyD will also deploy staff to monitor and check the works progress of footbridges with a view to ensuring the quality of such works.

     If problems concerning the works of the projects are found, such as the situation of the footbridge project at Tai Ho Road, Tsuen Wan mentioned in part (a) of the reply, the HyD will request the project consultant and contractor concerned to conduct detailed investigation immediately to review the project works.  Experts will also be engaged by the Department for an independent assessment, and the footbridge will only be opened for public use when full compliance of safety standards is ensured.  Depending on the investigation results, the HyD will critically examine the need of further follow-up actions, including action against those who are responsible for causing the problems of the works.

Ends/Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:01