Hong Kong’s corruption watchdog has arrested 21 people, including two senior executives, for alleged corruption in submitting false concrete strength tests on the 30-km mega bridge under construction from Hong Kong to Zhuhai and Macau.
Announced yesterday, the arrests followed a week-long operation codenamed "Greenfield" targeting a contractor hired to carry out the tests by Hong Kong’s Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD).
In total, the sea link’s aggregate length is 55km, including the 29.7-km bridge, the undersea tunnel, artificial islands, and spurs to Macau and the city of Zhuhai (POSCO)
Investigators suspect the executives and technicians of having "corruptly connived" by substituting actual samples with high strength concrete cubes to falsify the tests, and by adjusting times on testing machines to hide irregularities.
A tip-off by the CEDD kick-started the investigation by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
In a statement ICAC said the suspected malpractice might have started in early 2015.
The first direct road link across the Pearl River Estuary knits together a region of more than 22 million people
Designed with help from Arup and Cowi, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau (HZM) Bridge is an ambitious infrastructure scheme creating the first direct road link across the Pearl River Estuary, knitting together a region of more than 22 million people that is China’s economic powerhouse. The only way to cross the estuary now is by ferry, with services sometimes disrupted by typhoons.
Adding to its complexity, the six-lane carriageway plunges under the sea-bed for over six kilometres in a tunnel beneath the Lingding Channel so as not to obstruct this busy shipping route.
Bridge under construction in Western Waters of Hong Kong (Dragages Hong Kong)
In total, the sea link’s aggregate length is 55km, including the 29.7-km bridge, the undersea tunnel, artificial islands, and spurs to Macau and the city of Zhuhai.
Officially estimated to cost $17bn (HK$132.9bn), the project has been plagued by delays, 10 worker deaths since 2011, and cost overruns.
Top image: The six-lane carriageway plunges under the sea-bed for over 6km in a tunnel beneath the Lingding Channel (Arup)