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Design flaws in Hong Kong mega bridge building could put workers in deadly danger of electric shocks - Experts

Infra News - Published on Wed, 04 Jul 2018

Image Source: South China Morning Post
South China Moring Post reported that serious design flaws in the immigration building of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge could be deadly for workers, engineering experts warned, with power supply rooms located in the basement prone to water seepage. The warning came after video footage emerged showing serious flooding and water seepage in a basement inside the passenger clearance building – built on an artificial island – on the Hong Kong side of the multibillion-dollar mega bridge, including the transformer room and switch room.

The HKD 8.4 billion building contract was undertaken by a joint venture between Leighton Contractors (Asia) and Chun Wo Development Holdings. Both firms were not available for comment.

Leighton has recently been embroiled in a series of construction scandals involving the HKD 97.1 billion Sha Tin-Central link, Hong Kong’s costliest rail project.

The Hong Kong government has spent nearly HK$120 billion on the local section of the bridge, which has been hit by construction delays and cost overruns. The bridge is expected to open some time this year but so far the central government has not announced a date.

Civil and structural engineer Mr Simon So Yiu-kwan said that placing the transformer room and the switch room in the basement was a serious design flaw.

Mr Simon said that “Usually the transformer room and switch room are located on the ground floor, not the basement as that is where water leakage easily crops up. The basement of the passenger clearance building is prone to underground water leakage problems as it is built on an artificial island surrounded by sea. Its transformer room and switch room should not have been placed in the basement.”

He said that leaking water could easily cause short circuits in the electrical system and explosions in the equipment because of the very high voltages involved. “It will be very dangerous as short circuits can kill people,” he said.

So said the best way to resolve the matter would be to relocate both rooms to the ground floor.

He added that “But the move would take at least three to four months, meaning it would be impossible for the bridge to open this year.”

Civil engineer Mr Albert Lai Kwong-tak said construction workers were being put at a risk as the basement should be free of water before the transformer room was connected to the power supply.

Mr Albert said that “From the video clips we can see that the flooding was very serious in the transformer room but the power supply was already connected. The black smoke from the switch room’s electrical panels indicated a risk of explosions. This put workers in a very hazardous situation. The Highways Department needs to explain how it monitors the safety of this building.”

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Wed, 04 Jul 2018
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