The Highways Department and MTR Corporation have said that work at the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and the Shatin to Central Link (SCL) construction sites in Wan Chai will be suspended for four days from next Monday until Thursday. The stoppage coincides with Chinese state leader Zhang Dejiang’s visit to the city.
Hong Kong’s is set to see the biggest security operation of its kind with the two construction sites located within a security area assigned by the police force. The area is near to the Grand Hyatt hotel where Zhang – the Beijing official in charge of Hong Kong affairs – will be staying during his visit.
The Highways Department and MTRC told Ming Pao that they will “coordinate” with the police request.
Keith Yim, ex-chairman of the Quantity Surveying division of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, estimated that the temporary closure of the construction site will have a big impact on the overall construction project. Employee salaries and the rental of heavy machinery will be paid for as normal with a cost to the general contractor of several million dollars.
The newspaper reported that security arrangements for Zhang’s visit are higher when compared to the visits of other countries’ leaders in recent years. The higher risk of terrorist attacks globally was also an important factor for the high level of security for Zhang.
Ahead of his visit, glue was applied to pavement bricks in areas outside the Central Government Offices and Legislative Council. Bricks were also secured around the area outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where he will be speaking at a Belt and Road Summit.
Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing confirmed on Thursday that a Legislative Council meeting next Wednesday is to be cut short for three hours to allow lawmakers to meet with Zhang before a dinner at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.