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LCQ11: Repairs and maintenance of footpaths paved with paving blocks

     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Lau Wong-fat and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (December 10):


     It has been reported that on the 17th of last month, a section of a slab-paved pavement in Causeway Bay suddenly caved in forming a hole of about four metres deep, and a passer-by fell into the hole and sustained injuries. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of cases of cave-ins of slab-paved pavements in the past three years and their causes; and

(2) among the cases mentioned in (1), of the respective numbers of those in which injuries were sustained by passers-by and those in which the authorities made compensation to the injured passers-by, as well as the total amount of compensation?



     The Highways Department (HyD) attaches great importance to the repairs and maintenance of the public roads (including footpaths) and ancillary facilities within its ambit. Regular inspections of public roads territory-wide are conducted.  Timely repairs and maintenance are carried out to keep the roads in good condition and to ensure the safety of road users.

     As for the repairs and maintenance of footpaths paved with paving blocks, when the HyD finds or receives complaints related to damaged or uneven road surface, or road subsidence of a relatively serious nature, it will arrange contractors to carry out repairs or, as the situation requires, will request the relevant Government departments, public utilities or responsible persons of private construction sites to follow it up expeditiously. In case the HyD finds or is informed about any signs of road subsidence, it will immediately fence off the relevant road section and conduct inspection in the surrounding areas to ensure the safety of road users.

     There are various causes of the uneven surface of footpaths paved with paving blocks. The main ones include excessive loading on the footpaths by illegal parking, poor reinstatement by the contractors of public utilities or Government departments after excavation works, substandard workmanship in the laying of paving blocks, etc. As for road subsidence of a relatively serious nature, it is commonly due to damaged underground conduits or works nearby being handled improperly, thus resulting in the erosion of soil underground.

     Our reply to the two parts of the Dr Hon Lau Wong-fat's question is as follows:

(1) According to the HyD's records, between 2012 and end-November this year, there were five cases in total involving subsidence of footpaths paved with paving blocks within the HyD's ambit, including the one that occurred in Causeway Bay this November.

     The road subsidence in these five cases was all due to the erosion of soil underground. Two of them were considered to involve the improper handling of the construction works nearby.  The responsible persons of the relevant sites already carried out repairs to the damaged footpaths immediately. Another two were believed to be due to damaged underground conduits. Repairs were undertaken by the relevant Government department and the HyD respectively. As for the causes of the incident of road subsidence in Causeway Bay, including whether the subsidence was related to the reconstruction works at a site nearby, the Government is still conducting investigation.

(2) According to the HyD's records, apart from the above-mentioned incident in Causeway Bay involving injury to a passer-by, no reports of injury to passers-by were received in the remaining four cases of road subsidence. Up until now, the HyD has not received any requests for compensation related to these five cases.

Ends/Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:00


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