Lai Chi Kok Bridge
Eastern end of the bridge
|Locale||Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong|
|Owner||Hong Kong Government|
|Maintained by||Highways Department|
|Total length||2,600 feet (790 m)|
|No. of spans||29|
|No. of lanes||6|
|Designer||Scott and Wilson, Kirkpatrick and Partners|
|Constructed by||Paul Y. Construction|
|Construction cost||HK$13.5 million|
|Inaugurated||29 October 1968|
|Daily traffic||82,560 (2016)|
|Lai Chi Kok Bridge|
The bridge, once the longest in Hong Kong, spanned Lai Chi Kok Bay, which was later filled in. It continues as an elevated road through Mei Foo Sun Chuen, a private housing estate. The former bay (below the bridge) is now Lai Chi Kok Park as well as Mei Foo station of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR).
The name is sometimes rendered as Laichikok Bridge in English. The Transport Department traffic census refers to it as the Lai Chi Kok Bay Bridge. It is also called the Kwai Chung Road Flyover in some government sources, but confusingly this name is also sometimes used to describe a different flyover farther west on Kwai Chung Road, close to Kwai Fong Estate.
The bridge was built to link Kowloon with ongoing industrial and new town development in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung, providing an alternative to the older, congested Castle Peak Road. Construction began in 1966. Built at a cost of about HK$13.5 million, the new bridge, then Hong Kong's longest, was officially opened on 29 October 1968 by acting governor Michael David Irving Gass. Kwai Chung Road was built along the coastline to the west of the bridge at the same time in order to complete the new link to Kwai Chung.
Mei Foo Sun Chuen, a private housing estate with 99 residential blocks, was developed roughly at the same time. Lai Chi Kok Bridge continues through the estate as an elevated roadway. Various amenities were built under the bridge here, including the community's wet market, bus terminus, an open plaza, and a community centre.
In 1975, the Hong Kong Government announced plans to reclaim Lai Chi Kok Bay, providing a park on the new land to help resolve the scarcity of public recreational space in the area. It said the bay, popular with swimmers, was badly polluted and constituted a health hazard. The bay was subsequently filled in, meaning the bridge no longer spans any water and simply resembles an elevated road. The bridge required underpinning to contend with additional loading imposed by the new fill.
In the 1990s, the Urban Council developed the new land directly under the bridge as the Lai Chi Kok Park Stage II. From 1999 to 2003, an extension of Mei Foo station was constructed as part of the West Rail project, adding new railway platforms and a new ticketing concourse. These new structures were built directly below the Lai Chi Kok Bridge, causing the bridge to shift slightly.
Design and construction
The bridge is a 2600-foot-long concrete structure with 29 spans. It was designed by Scott and Wilson, Kirkpatrick and Partners together with the former Public Works Department of the Hong Kong Government, and built by Paul Y. Construction.
The bridge deck carries three vehicular lanes in each direction. Part of the bridge (the part that spanned the former bay) also has pavements on both sides of the carriageway. There are two slip roads partway along the bridge – one allows eastbound traffic to exit onto Cheung Sha Wan Road, while the other allows westbound traffic to enter the bridge from Lai Chi Kok Road.
The bridge bisects Mei Foo Sun Chuen, and parts of the road pass very close to residential blocks. As a result, some residents have long complained that the road constitutes a noise nuisance. In 2000, the Hong Kong Government announced a policy to implement noise reduction strategies at flyovers that pass close to buildings, including constructing acoustic barriers and resurfacing roads with "low-noise material". Under this policy, the Lai Chi Kok Bridge was resurfaced in the early 2000s. However, the government said that adding noise barriers was not feasible as the road structure cannot support the added weight. Further, it said that there was no space for a separate noise barrier structure, and the barriers would obstruct firefighting in the event of a fire.
- "Laichikok Bridge Is H.K.'s Longest". South China Morning Post. 15 April 1967. p. 1.
- The Annual Traffic Census 2017 (PDF) (Report). Transport Department. August 2018. p. B-27. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
- "The Annual Traffic Census 2016" (PDF). Hong Kong: Transport Department. August 2017. p. B-27.
- Au, Elvis W.K. (3 April 2002). "Resurfaced flyover should be less noisy". South China Morning Post.
- "Progress of Measures to Address Noise Impact of Existing Roads" (PDF). Legislative Council. 24 February 2003.
- "H.K.'s longest bridge ready for use soon". South China Morning Post. 17 October 1968. p. 7.
- Maslowicz, Andrew (Christmas 1972). "Our Share in the 'Roads and Bridges' Stakes" (PDF). Pontifact. Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and Partners (30): 32.
- "Laichikok Bridge opened today, new traffic routing announced". South China Morning Post. 29 October 1968. p. 6.
- "Ground-breaking ceremony held for Sham Shui Po District Council Yan Oi Tong Mei Foo Neighbourhood Activity Centre". Hong Kong Government. 29 April 2016.
- "Laichikok Bay to be turned into park". South China Morning Post. 30 May 1975. p. 6.
- "Further reclamation". Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick Today (40): 5. May 1989.
- "Review of Payments to Contractors for the West Rail Project" (PDF). Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation. April 2002.
- Tam, Angela (2013). "HKIE Awards – Gold medal". Hong Kong Engineer. Hong Kong Institution of Engineers. 41 (5). Archived from the original on 20 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
- Google (31 March 2019). "Lai Chi Kok Bridge" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
- "Study for Retrofitting Barriers on Existing Roads: Executive Summary" (PDF). Environmental Protection Department. March 2000. p. 10.
- Media related to Lai Chi Kok Bridge at Wikimedia Commons