Hong Kong’s long-awaited HKD36 billion Central–Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link (CWB) will open to traffic at 8am on January 20, as announced by the Transport Department of China’s Hong Kong SAR.
The 4.5-kilometre link, comprising a 4.5-kilometre pair of three-lane trunk roads and a 3.7-kilometre tunnel, connects the Rumsey Street Flyover in Central and the Island Eastern Corridor (IEC) in North Point. It is expected to ease chronic congestion between both points and cut travel time between from about half an hour to five minutes.
The CWB commissioning will be done in two stages, with the CWB Tunnel in the first stage, due to continued alteration works on the westbound carriageway.
The CWB Tunnel will also introduce the first air purification system for use in road tunnels in Hong Kong, which can effectively remove at least 80 per cent of the respirable suspended particulates and nitrogen dioxide, resulting in air purification. This air purification system represents the largest scale of such application in the world. There are three ventilation buildings at each end of the tunnel and one at the eastern breakwater of the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter. The ventilation system can also discharge smoke from the tunnel.
Work on the CWB began in 2009, and the entire project was expected to open in 2017 but was delayed by budget overruns and technical difficulties. The tunnel construction ran into seepage problems at one stage, but the Highways Department said the issue was ‘minor’ and had been rectified. It added that the tunnel is designed to allow a limited extent of seepage and has drainage features to address and limit such risks.— Construction+ Online