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Cost of work on Terminal 2 for third runway at Hong Kong airport ‘may rise 47 per cent’

Airport work will face rising construction costs and legal issues over airspace, opponents warn

The cost of expanding Terminal 2 at Chek Lap Kok airport to support the proposed third runway could soar to HK$14 billion by the time work begins in 2019 – 47 per cent up on the original prediction, a veteran engineer says.

The Airport Authority plans to shut down the terminal, which opened in 2007, for construction work to improve arrival and transit facilities. The building currently houses 56 passenger check-in counters, restaurants and shops, but no arrival hall.

Greg Wong Chak-yan, a former president of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, said his estimation was based on construction costs rising 5 to 6 per cent per year until 2019. The original prediction by the authority was HK$9.5 billion in 2010 prices.

The expansion work will involve extensive excavation and will see the terminal out of service until 2023.

Wong’s estimate came as opponents of a third runway warned yesterday the runway project could run into the same troubles as the new high-speed rail link to Guangzhou, which has been dogged by legal and constitutional issues involved in arranging immigration checks.

Opponents say the capacity of a third runway would be affected significantly by the ability of local authorities to coordinate airspace with mainland authorities.

“The problems will be similar to those seen with the planned joint immigration checkpoint at West Kowloon for the high-speed rail terminus,” said Roy Tam Hoi-pong, from Green Sense, and environmental group. “We don’t want to see Beijing interpreting the Basic Law to decide who should control the airspace.”

Hong Kong is responsible for providing air traffic services within its flight information region, according to Article 130 of the Basic Law.

Engineer Albert Lai Kwong-tak, from think tank Professional Commons, said if the third runway project ran into trouble, the problems would be even worse than those of the over-budget and delayed rail link.

He said construction projects across the Pearl River Delta requiring reclamation could jack up sand prices significantly, adding further uncertainty to the cost of land formation for the airport.

Wong believed the layout of the terminal building would be completely changed and that “only steel beams would be left” after the installation of additional facilities.

However, a spokesman for the authority would not say how far the basic structure of the building would be altered.

“The [authority] has analysed the structural limits and potential impact on the existing building, including the related modifications and addition works,” he said.

Source URL (modified on May 13th 2015, 3:21am):

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