Sunday, September 25, 2005

Extreme Engineering: Hong Kong Airport

Am sitting here with a wireless laptop blogging while watching Discovery Channel's Extreme Engineering's episode on the building of Hong Kong Airport.

To check out a timeline of the airport project, check out this page at the HK Airport home page.

All I can say, AMAZING.

A few highlights:
(1) To build the airport that had to flatten two rocky islands and used the crushed rocks to fill the land between the two islands to make one island where the airport now sits.
(2) To connect the airport to central Hong Kong on Victoria Island, they had to build many miles of superhighway WITHOUT stopping existing traffic and port facility operations so roads were built ELEVATED and at NIGHT.
(3) Hong Kong is comprised of islands and to reach the airport from Victoria Island an underwater tunnel was needed to connect Victoria Island to Kowloon. A prior tunnel already existed but to handle the increased traffic a new one needed to be built.
(4) Kowloon needed to be connected to Lantau Island, the island next to the island where the aiport was being built. Because of heavy cargo ship traffic an underwater tunnel was not possible so a bridge needed to be built and it had to be high enough so ships could go underneath. It also had to be strong enough to withstand typhoons which can slam the area with 200 mph winds.
(5) The entire transportation network had to accomodate cars, trucks and high speed trains
(6) The airport terminal area became the largest enclosed space in the world was built to handle lots of passenger traffic and the world's busiest air cargo facility.
(7) Because the terminal was built on an "artifical" island, they soon discovered that tides might make the ground unstable so the terminal was bolted with massive pillars to the rockbed many feet below the landfill.

Anyway, it is an amazing place as I got to go there in 2001. We arrived from LAX after 16 hour of flying and it was amazing how quickly we got our luggage and were wisked away from the airport toward Victoria Island on a bus.


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