1903 Public Works Report | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1903 Public Works Report

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Excerpts:

WORK UNDER THE BUILDING ORDINANCE

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16. General Remarks.—The Naval Yard Extension and Messrs. Butterfield & Swire’s Shipyard Works were still in progress throughout the year. In the case of the former, the sea wall and inner-wall or quay forming the pier on the north side of the Basin, a portion of the east wall of the Basin and the Murray Pier Extension and roundhead beyond it were all brought above low-water level, whilst the cofferdam enclosing the site of the graving dock was completed and the water pumped out. In the case of the Quarry Bay Shipyard Works, the side walls of the graving dock for more than half its length were in progress and the excavation for the remaining portions well advanced, whilst the cofferdam to enclose the site of the entrance was nearing completion. Substantial progress was also made with the levelling operations, large masses of rock having been excavated and tipped to form the reclamation. The large blocks of buildings on the Praya Reclamation between Ice House and Pedder Streets were in progress throughout the year, the triangular block at the junction of Des Voeux and Chater Roads, designated “Alexandra Buildings,” being nearly completed. The south-eastern section of Princes Build-dings was roofed in before the close of the year. The buildings for the Electric Tramway Power Station, on the east side of Bowrington Canal, were nearly completed, and a new Chinese Theatre was erected near the Gas Works, West Point. Substantial progress was made with the reclamation at Tsim Sha Tsui between Blackhead’s Point and Kowloon Marine Lot 6.

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It will be observed that the New Territory appears for the first time as having contributed to the revenue derived from land sales. The transactions were however unimportant. (see Report for list of Transactions)

The grants on nominal terms include a small area (2,500 square feet) for a temple at Tung Lo Wan; another for a cable hut for the Telegraph Companies at the junction of Bonham and Pokfulam Roads; an area of nearly an acre at Kai Lung Wan for an extension of the ground used for burying urns containing disinterred remains ; an area of 2 acres at Happy Valley for the Asile de la Sainte Enfance; a small area 12,267 square feet) adjoining St. Josephs Church in Garden Road ; and an area of 1.55 acres for the erection of an Anglican Church in Kowloon near the Observatory.

The negotiations between the Colonial Government and the Military Authorities, referred to in last year’s Report, for an exchange of lands were still unconcluded at the close of the year, Pending a settlement, the Military Authorities were allowed into possession of considerable areas at Pinewood Battery, below High West Gap, and at a point on the Jubilee Road, about a mile beyond the Plague Hospital. Arrangements were also made for the construction of new Rifle Ranges behind Kowloon City under the supervision of the Royal Engineers and at the expense of the Colony. This is necessary to enable the present ranges to be relinquished with a view to the formation of the King's Park in Kowloon.

8. Naval Lands.—-The Admiralty having acquired Kowloon Marine Lot 36, the Crown rent was commuted upon payment of the sum of $12,650 into the Treasury, as already mentioned. An area of about 4 acres of land, mostly hillside, on the promontory west of Lai Chi Kok Bay, was placed at the disposal of the Naval Authorities in connection with the establishment of a Torpedo Range in that neighbourhood.

11. New Ordinances. - The new Ordinance referred to in last year’s Report (No. 1 of 1903 as it became) was finally passed in February, coming into force on the 21st of that month. After being enforced tor a brief period, it became evident that its provisions with regard to cubicles were too drastic and that it would be necessary to modify these in order to meet the requirements of the hurnbler section of the Chinese population. An amending Ordinance was accordingly passed in December which altered the definition of a cubicle so as to render it unnecessary to provide a window or skylight specially for such a structure apart from the windows or skylights lighting the room in which it is situated, prohibited the construction of such cubicles in houses hereafter erected or re-erected and permitted only two cubicles and in some cases only one, to be maintained in any room of an existing house. The requirements of a greater floor-area and cubic space per occupant were made applicable to all houses; the term “external air " was more clearly defined; cubicles, lobbies and landings were excluded from the definition of a “ room ”; and sundry minor amendments,‘ principally bearing upon the administration of the Sanitary Department, were made.

25.The quarters for chair coolies at Victoria Gap were completed in April and leased to the licensee of the public chairs for the Hill District. The building is a two-storied one, containing accommodation for 96 coolies, for whom bunks have been fitted up. A cook-house on the ground floor only was at first constructed but to meet the requirements of the coolies, another storey, accessible from the upper floor of the quarters, was subsequently added. Latrine accommodation is provided in a separate building.

26. The widening of Queen’s Road from the City Hall to Arsenal Street was practically completed, only a small portion of the old Provost Prison remaining to be removed. A portion of the widening of Arsenal Street still remained to be done. The roads on the Praya Reclamation were practically completed, but were much disturbed and interfered with by the extensive building operations in progress on the recently reclaimed land. The two steam road—rollers were kept well employed, the roads being maintained generally in good condition. The use of salt-water for watering is. however, exercising a very injurious effect upon them causing the surface to break up on the occurrence of damp weather. The heavy rainstorms experienced caused some damage in the way of landslips, which blocked or  carried away portions of the roads, whilst the surfaces of some of the steeper roads were scoured out.

38. Drainage Works. The flushing Tank mentioned in the third item is the one whose construction was recommended by Mr. Chadwick in his Report of the 13th May, 1902.

 

After a vain endeavour to obtain a site, first under the Parade Ground and subsequently under a corner of the Cathedral compound, it was decided to construct the tank behind the Volunteer Headquarters. it has a capacity of 6,000 gallons, is filled by means of a special pipe with water from Albany Nullah, and is capable of being discharged either into the main sewer extending eastwards to the outfall at sbip Street or into the one extending westwards to the outfall at Queen Victoria Street.

 

A sum of $6,624 was expended from the vote upon the construction of connections to the drains of new buildings.

 

43. Water-works Ordinance.—-The Water-works Ordinance (No. 29 of 1902) did not receive the Royal Assent, an influentially signed petition from the Chinese community having been presented against it. The provisions which provoked opposition on the part of the Chinese were those for disconnecting the services to tenement houses and requiring the occupants to obtain their supply from public fountains to be erected in the streets. ln order to effect the object of the Ordinance, namely, the prevention of waste of water, the only alternatives were-the universal introduction of meters or the application of the rider-main system to the most populous districts of the City. The first alternative was, for various reasons, dismissed as inapplicable and it was decided to adopt the second. A new Ordinance was therefore drafted which gave the Governor in Council power to define “ Rider-Main Districts,” that is, districts within which the supply of water to all tenements, unless specially exempted, would be effected through rider or branch mains, controlled by valves so that an intermittent supply could be given without cutting off the water from the City at large. To meet exceptional cases, such as those of premises requiring a supply of water for trade purposes, power of exemption from disconnection with the principal mains was also given to the Governor in Council, meters being required to be fixed in all such cases as well as in the case of all services to tenements situated outside “ Rider-Main Districts." It was further stipulated that the entire cost of providing the rider-mains was to be borne by the owners of premises which such mains are intended to supply, the apportionment of the cost being determined by the Water Authority. The Ordinance came into effect on the 25th September and new Regulations giving effect to its provisions were gazetted on the 9th October (Government Notification No. 657).

 

54. Praya East Reclamation.—The negotiations mentioned in last year’s Report were brought to a satisfactory issue with the exception of those relating to the boundary between the proposed scheme and the Naval and Military properties. These were still in progress at the close of the year, having proved to be very protracted and troublesome. In consequence of the proposed construction of the electric tramway along Praya East, it was considered advisable to proceed at once with the raising of that roadway to such a level as would admit of the drains and sewers being extended hereafter across the reclamation to the New Praya front, thus obviating the taking up and re-laying of the tramway at an early date. A contract for the work was let in November, a premium being offered for its speedy completion. Very satisfactory progress was made, and by the close of the year the raising was practically completed from Arsenal Street to No. 2 Police Station, whilst a considerable amount had been done on the remaining portion of the road to the eastward. The space to be occupied by the tramway was left about a foot below the finished surface of the road so as to save the filling in and subsequent digging out of material over this area. The expenditure amounted to $13,107.95, but as it was decided to charge it to an advance account, this amount does not appear in Appendix B. It will be recovered later when the Fund for carrying out the Reclamation Scheme is established.

 

56. City & Hill District Waterworks. The whole of the works enumerated, with the exception of the Improvements of Pokfulam Conduit and the Repairs to No. 2 Tank, have been completed, and

 

the following additional items have been executed:

 

( i.) Service Reservoir, Mount Gough.

( ii.) Service Reservoir above Military Hospital site, Bowen Road.

(iii.) Motor at Bowen Road Filter Beds capable of raising water to either of the above Service Reservoirs.

(iv. ) Rising Main, 3" diameter, from the above motor to Mount Gough Service Reservoir, with connection to Peak Mains.

(v.) Main, 6” diameter, connecting Service Reservoir above Military Hospital site with other High Level Service Reservoirs.

(vi.) Two additional Beds at the West Point Filters.

(vii.) Additional Rising Main, 3" diameter, from Bonham Road Pumping Station to Peak Service Reservoir.

 

The total expenditure under the vote has amounted to $319,285.58, of which a small balance ($2,645.31) remained to be paid in 1904.

 

The Service Reservoir on Mount Gough, which is the only work not described in previous Reports, has a capacity of 211,500 gallons. It is constructed. of cement concrete, the north wall, which is exposed, being faced externally with rubble masonry. The reservoir is covered with cement concrete arching carried on rolled joists which are in turn supported by brick pillars. The work was completed in November.

 

With regard to the recommendations which have not yet been carried out, the Pokfulam conduit has been thoroughly cleaned and freed from obstructions throughout its entire length and it is now proposed to reconstruct No.. 2 Tank in a slightly different position to the old tank, the cost ofthe work being defrayed out of another vote.

 

57. Widening Conduit Road:—This work, which was described in last year's- Report, was satisfactorily completed in the beginning of the year.

 

58. Public Bath-house at Cross Street, Wanchai.—As the local Brick Company failed to supply the glazed bricks required to complete the bath-house. Some slight modifications in the design ‘were adopted in order to avoid further delay, and the building was finally handed over to the Sanitary Board in October. A description of it was given in last year’s Report.

59. Government Offices, Additions and Alterations.—This work was completed in June and afforded a useful addition to meet the requirements of increased staff. The fireproof room on the upper floor, measuring 74 feet by 18 feet. Is being fitted up with cupboards to contain the records of the Colonial Secretary's office.

60. Two Temporary Markets.—Only one of these structures, namely, that adjoining the new Harbour Office, was proceeded with, the Sanitary Board having advised that the site opposite the Sailors’ Home was not a convenient one for the purposes of a market. A contract for the one first-mentioned was let in February and the work was completed in July. The structure is of timber throughout, with concrete floor and tiled roof and the various shops and stalls are appropriately fitted up. They comprise 4 vegetable and fruit shops, 2 poultry shops, 9 beef and mutton stalls, 18 pork stalls and 9 fish stalls.

 

 

61. Extension of Wanchai Market: - This work consisted of erecting a building on the open space hitherto existing on the south side of the Market. The whole of this was taken up, large openings being formed in the south wall of the old building so as to afford a connection with the extension. A contract for the work was let in April and had nearly been completed at the close of the year. The walls of the building are of red brick, plastered externally and pointed internally, the floor being laid with cement concrete and the roof covered with double pan and roll tiling. Accommodation is afibrded for 27 stalls in the extension and, by making several alterations, 10 new stalls were added in the old part of the building, thus making 37 additional stalls in all.

66. Cattle Depot Extension.— A contract for a new shed, capable of containing 240 head of cattle was let in April. The shed was completed and handed over to the Sanitary Board in October. It has been erected on a piece of vacant Crown land adjoining and to the north of the Cattle Depot with which it has been incorporated by enclosing it with a boundary wall and establishing communication between the two. The shed measures 142&½ feet by 102 feet and is divided into four bays in each of which two rows of cattle are accommodated, a passage being provided down the middle. The walls are of red brick, plastered externally, large openings being left all round for purposes of ventilation. The roof is tiled and has a large overhang to give shade and afford protection from rain. The floor is of lime concrete rendered over with cement and feeding troughs constructed of brick and lime concrete rendered with cement are provided along the walls. Rings are let into the walls for tying up the cattle to.

 

In consequence of the great increase in the import of cattle, due largely to the demand from the Philippines, it was decided to proceed with the erection of further sheds, and a new contract was entered into in August for the erection of one of the same capacity as that just described, besides numerous lean-to sheds, the latter totalling in all a length of 1,126 feet and being capable of accommodating 281 head of cattle. With the completion of these, there will be room in the Depot for 1,241 head of cattle as compared with 430 in the old Depot. The lean-to sheds have been constructed by raising the boundary walls and projecting roofs over the adjacent strips of compound. The roofs, where not resting on the walls, are supported on timber posts let into cast~iron sockets. Good progress has been made with the work, about half of the additional sheds being roofed in at the close of the year.

 

69. Road from Sham Shui Po to Lai Chi Kok .— It was not found practicable to undertake this work during the year.

70. Road from Kowloon Inland Lot 652, Hunghom, to Sixth Street, Yaumati.-—This road will afford a much needed communication between the important villages of Hunghom and Yaumati. lt crosses the swampy ground immediately to the north of Gun Club Hill and will intersect the area which it is intended, when negotiations with the War Department reach such a stage as to admit of it.to lay out as the King’s Park. Alter traversing some rising ground, the road bifurcates, one portion communicating with Sixth Street, Yaumati, and the other with an extension of Robinson Road which it is proposed to construct northwards past the Yaumati Theatre. With a view to future developments, the road is being laid out with a width of 100 feet.

 

A contract for the work was let in August and substantial progress had been made at the close of the year, about 55,000 cubic yards of material having been excavated where the road passes through cutting and deposited to form the necessary embankment across the low-lying ground. In connection with the work, a large nullah, with concrete invert and masonry side walls is being constructed along the north side of the road to carry off the storm-water from the adjacent hills. The nullah has a width of 10 feet in its lower and 5 feet in its upper length, the depth throughout being 5 feet. Some 500 feet of it were practically completed.

 

71. Public Bath-Houses, Pound Lane, Tai Ping Shan: - This work comprises a bath-house for men, another for women and a caretaker-’s quarters, each a separate building. A contract for the work was let in August: and good progress was made, the buildings being roofed in by the close of the year.

 

72. Resumption of Insanitary Property: - The small scheme of resumption referred to in paragraph 60 of last year’s Report was completed. The scheme is part of one which was recommended by the Sanitary Experts (Messrs. CHADWICK and SIMPSON) and owed its origin to a fire which destroyed or injured a considerable number of houses in the neighbourhood of Ladder Street. The part carried out comprised the resumption of 4 houses entirely and small portions of 2 others and provided for an extension of Lower Lascar Row from Ladder Street to U Hing Lane. Two of the houses had been entirely destroyed by the fire referred to, whilst two others had suffered considerable damage from it. The cost of the resumptions was $36,500, of which $14,000 was expended in 1902. A further  sum of $480 was spent in pulling down two of the houses and in obtaining valuations.

 

Another scheme of considerable extent was undertaken in connection with the block of buildings bounded by Aberdeen Street, Gough Street, Queen’s Road and Wellington Street, a block which was specially commented upon by the Sanitary Experts in their Report on the question of the Housing of the Population of Hongkong, dated 14th May, 1902. This scheme included the resumption of 37 houses, in order to enable roads to be opened out in place of the narrow lanes which intersect the block. Action was taken with regard to 25 houses, but negotiations had only been concluded in the case of 2 of them by the close of the year, the amount of compensation paid being $16,300. In the case of the remaining 23 houses, the Governor in Council having declared that negotiations had failed, formal notice was given under the Crown Lands Resumption Ordinance (No. 32 of 1900) that they were required for a public purpose. Unless the owners come to terms within four months from the date of the notice, the question of compensation will be referred to arbitration, the houses becoming the property of the Government without further delay.

 

75. Cattle Crematorium and Refuse Destructor.—-This work was completed in February. Lt comprises a one-cell crematorium for destroying the caresses of animals which die of disease and a one-cell destruct-or intended to be used for disposing of the rubbish removed from houses where cases of Plague had occurred. A ramp is provided to enable the dead bodies of animals, &c., to be conveyed to the platform from which they are deposited iu the furnace. The apparatus is covered with a. roof and otherwise enclosed, a large sliding door being used to close the entrance to the platform.

 

76. New Derrick at Gap Rock.——The site of the new derrick is about 15 feet above mean sea level and 170 feet south-west of the site of the old one at a point where a spur of rock with almost perpendicular faces and deep water alongside juts out into the sea. Under favourable conditions the light-house tender “ Stanley" has approached close enough to be discharged by means of the derrick, thus obviating the necessity of transferring the stores destined for the light-house into a small boat. Except in very stormy weather, a landing can always be effected at this point though it is occasionally found advantageous to use the old landing place. The derrick standard is of wrought iron, let into the solid rock; the frame of cast iron, capable of revolving and fitted with single and double purchase gear and the jib, which has a radius of 40 feet, is of wrought iron and tubular in section. For conveyance to Gap Rock, the jib was made in 4 sections, which were bolted together by means of wrought iron collars and brass bolts. The old derrick, which is still useful under certain conditions of wind and weather, was moved a distance of 15 feet seawards.

 

80.  Public Mortuary, Extension and Reconstruction.—-The mortuary, which is situated in Hill Road, having been found inadequate for present requirements, it was decided to proceed with large extensions and also to take down and re-construct, in accordance with modern ideas, the old building itself. A contract for the work was let in May and, though carried on under considerable difficulties on account of the limited extent and irregular nature of the site and the use of the old building for the accommodation of the bodies of Plague victims, all the new buildings were completed by the end of the year and the reconstruction of the old mortuary was well advanced. The completed buildings will comprise two mortuaries, each of Which contains 16 tables, a rat-examination room, measuring 30 feet by 16 feet, 3 small offices, 2 small stores and accommodation for 4 coolies, the whole of the premises being enclosed by a high boundary wall. The buildings are of red brick, plastered externally and internally, except where lined with white glazed tiles, and have roofs of double pun and roll tiling, supported on timber purlins and principals. The walls of the mortuaries and rat-examination room are lined for it height of 6 feet above the floor with white glazed tiles obtained from England and the floors are laid with-glazed paving tiles of local manufacture except in the case ol the Reconstructed mortuary Where the floor is rendered with cement mortar, the tiles used in the case of the other buildings not being considered altogether satisfactory. ln addition to the ordinary outer doors, the mortuaries and rat-examination room are provided with inner doors of open construction, covered with mosquito~proof wire gauze, and all openings for windows and ventilators are similarly protected. The tables and other fittings for use in the mortuaries have been obtained from England. The whole of the compound is covered with lime concrete 4 inches thick, finished off with two inches of fine cement concrete and a special drain is provided from the buildings to the harbour, no other drains whatever being connected with it.

 

84. Tanks in-No 9 & 10 Health Districts:- Consequent upon the experiment conducted by His Excellency, the Governor, Sir Henry BLAKE, which included the establishment of hot-water tanks and bath-houses in Second and Third Streets, for the ‘purpose of promoting cleanliness among the poorer Chinese and thus mitigating or preventing the spread of Plague among them, the erection of a number of large hot-water tanks was proceeded with in the Health Districts already mentioned. The tanks are constructed of sheet iron, 3&1/16” thick, and measure 8 feet long by 3 feet Wide by 2 feet deep. They are provided with furnaces underneath and are designed to enable articles of furniture — principally bed-boards—to be dipped in them so as to free them of vermin. The sum expended was only a small portion of the total cost, the work not having been undertaken until the latter part of November.

 

85. Resumption of Kowloon Inland Lots 1012-1015, strip of Inland Lot, 1087.— These resumptions were effected in order to make provision for the construction of main thoroughfares in Kowloon, which it is intended to lay out with a width of 100 feet. One of these, crossing ihe King's Park, is already in progress (aide paragraph (59) and it is intended to proceed with another leading; northwards in continuation of Robinson Road.

 

86. Victoria Hospital: - The Jubilee Committee having Found that the funds at their disposal did not admit of the completion of the Hospital and Quarters with all necessary fittings, the Government undertook to make good the deficit, which it was estimated would not exceed $3,400. Only a portion of this sum was required up to the close of the year, the balance being payable in 1904.

 

ln accordance with the arrangements made when the Jubilee Fund was started in 1897, the buildings, which had reached completion, were formally handed over to Government on the 7th Novernber. The site for the hospital which is on Barker Road, about 1,100 feet above sea.level, was granted by the Government and on it, after performing the necessary levelling operations including the construction of retaining walls, the Jubilee Committee erected the buildings, Messrs. PALMER & Turner being the Architects. The main building consists of two floors containing two general wards ( 12 beds each), a children's ward (8 beds) and 4 private wards (1, 2, 4 and 5 beds respectively) a total of 44 beds. There are also 2 Sisters’ rooms, an ofiice, entrance hall and staircase, an operating theatre and an isolation ward ; the two latter being situated in separate wings connected by covered ways with the rest of the building. A drying-room and the necessary lavatory, scullery and bathroom accommodation are provided. Separated a little way from the main building, but connected with it by a covered way, are the quarters for the staff, consisting of a pair of semi-detached 5-roomed houses, with bathrooms, kitchens and servants’ quarters. The kitchens and servants’ quarters connected with the hospital are conveniently arranged in a detached wing in the rear of the main buildings. A mortuary is also provided.

 

The buildings are of red brick, plastered externally and internally, except in the case of the hospital wards which have plastered dadoes 5 feet high, the walls being cement-pointed above that height. The roofs are of Canton double tiling supported on timber purlins and principals and the verandah floors and floors of lavatories, &c., are of cement concrete supported on iron joists. The wards and rooms have boarded floors of hardwood, those on the upper floor being laid on top of cement concrete arching, supported on steel joists. The entrance hall is laid with encaustic tiles and the main staircase is of teak. All the verandahs are enclosed.

 

The total expenditure upon the work, including architects’ fees, preparing site, &c., was $118,891.05, the Government contribution amounting to $3,342.43. The preparation of the site, &c., cost $7.-500 and the superstructure, including the the necessary fittings, $100,994.97, the balance of the expenditure being for architects’ fees, supervision, &c.

 

87. Jubilee Road.—-In the case of the Jubilee Road also, the Committee had to apply to Government for a small sum ($524.25) towards defraying the cost. This however was principally due to the construction of a pathway connecting the road from the Peak to Aberdeen with the Jubilee ‘Road, which was undertaken with the approval of the Government in the belief that funds were available. Owing to damage caused to the road itself at a later period by the severe rain-storms of the 27th-28th June, extra expense, which had not been contemplated. was incurred, thus necessitating an appeal to the Government for the amount stated above.

 

The road and pathway having been fully completed were taken over by the Government in November and will in future be maintained out of the revenues of

the Colony.

 

The road commences at Kennedy Town and traverses the southern slopes of Mount Davis and the adjoining hills to Aberdeen. opening out en route a portion of the island which has hitherto been practically inaccessible. It is 5 miles long, has a width of 16 feet and is designed as a carriage road.

 

Leaving Kennedy Town, it rises for about a mile with gradients of 1 in 20 and 1 in 30 until it attains a height of about 180 feet above sea level; one of the conditions upon which the Military Authorities withdrew their opposition to its construction being that it should be kept 150 feet above the sea. Passing through a small gap adjoining a site acquired by the Military Authorities for gun practice, it falls at 1 in 30 until it reaches the 150 feet contour, when it is carried level round Sandy Bay to below Bisnee Villa. Another ascent at l in 30 is then made

to a gap about 250 feet above sea level near Sassoon’s Villa, at which point there is a cross road connecting it with the old road from West Point to Aberdeen, which is at a considerably greater altitude. From the gap, it again falls at the same gradient to the 150 feet contour and then runs level through the property of the Missions Etrangeres. Crossing the Pokfulam Stream on a bridge of 4 arches, a little further on, it joins the old road to Aberdeen, of which a length of 800 feet has been utilized after improving the gradients. Diverging again at No. 10 Bridge, which has been widened considerably, it falls at 1 in 20 and finally terminates in close proximity to the Aberdeen Docks by joining the old road near sea level, the reason for constructing this portion being the excessively steep gradients of the latter below the bridge mentioned. The road is surfaced throughout with decomposed granite.

 

There are 10 bridges, all of which are built of granite masonry, with brick arches faced with granite. the spans varying. from 10 to 17 feet. All bridges and retaining walls are provided with parapet walls of granite masonry, whilst other parts of the road are protected by iron railings where necessary.

 

The pathway before referred to commences near the bridge across the main stream on the road from the Peak to Aberdeen and joins the Jubilee Road near the No. 10 Bridge already mentioned.

 

The work was carried out for the Committee by Messrs. Denison, Ram & Gibbs, Engineers, Mr. LI A PING being the Contractor. The total expenditure, including all charges, was $115,272.27, the amount expended under the contract being $106,146. These figures include the sum of $524.25, which was paid by Government.

 

89. Alterations of Roads.— The diversion of the Shaukiwnn Road past Messrs. Butterfield & Swire’s shipyard at Quarry Bay was sufficiently advanced to admit of turning the traffic over it and closing the old road in December.

 

The question of carrying out certain alterations and exchanges to enable the traffic to be diverted from the Praya in front of the Kowloon Wharf and Godown Company’s premises at Kowloon was re-opened and satisfactory progress was made towards a settlement of the matter, but it had not been finally disposed of by the end of the year.

 

91. Harlech Road and Road between Wanchai and Wong-nei-chong Gaps.— Work on these roads was resumed by the Military Authorities and was about completed by the close of the year.

 

92. Electric Tramways.—The laying of the tramway was begun in April and was well advanced by the close of the year. The track is a double one from Kennedy Town to Causeway Bay and a single one beyond the latter place to Shaukiwan. A short length of double track extends from Praya East to the Grand Stand at the Racecourse, Happy Valley. With the exception of a considerable section past the Gas Works, another in Arsenal Street and along the whole extent of Praya East. and a third at Quarry Bay, practically the whole of the track was completed. Some delay in proceeding with the sections mentioned arose through want of rails. Good progress was made with the erection of the Company’s Power Station and Car Depot on the east side of Bowrington Canal. The Company obtained the sanction of the Governor in Council to improve the grading of a portion of the road eastward of No. 5 Bridge at Quarry Bay, and this work was well advanced.

 

98. General Description of Scheme: As the works have now practically reached completion, it may be useful to give a brief account of their origin and progress. The Praya Reclamation Works were initiated by Sir C. P. Chater, and have been carried out under the Praya Reclamation Ordinance, No. 16 of 1889. Prior to the passing of this Ordinance, reclamations of limited extent at West Point in front of the Sailors' Home and the Wharf and Godown Company’s property (Marine Lots 95 and 105) were sanctioned, but, as these fell within the limits of the main scheme, they were subsequently carried out in conjunction with it. A considerable quantity of rubble stone for the foundations of the sea,-wall for these reclamations had been deposited before the main scheme was undertaken and, as the new reclamation projected somewhat further into the harbour, it was necessary to widen the mound so formed in order to bring the wall into alignment.

 

The reclamation extends from the boundary of the Naval Yard Extension westwards to a point opposite Marine Lot 181, a distance of nearly 2 miles, the total area reclaimed from the see being approximately 65 acres. Of this area 33.73 acres constitute building land, the remainder being occupied by roads and open spaces. An area of 2.2 acres of land outside the boundaries of the actual reclamation and formerly occupied by streets was rendered available for inclusion with building lots. The total length of new Praya Wall is 10,263 feet.

 

ln connection with the Praya Reclamation Works the reconstruction of Government Piers has also been carried on. So far as this work has progressed, it includes permanent structures for the Nam Pak Hong Pier,‘ Boat-slips opposite the old and new Harbour Offices, Pottinger Street Pier, Blake Pier, Murray Pier, and temporary piers at Ice House Street and Wardley Street. The permanent structures are all of masonry and concrete with the exception of Blake Pier which is constructed almost entirely of iron.

 

The total expenditure, up to the 31st December, 1903, on the whole of the above mentioned works, amounted to $3,362,325.37

 

The estimated cost of the Praya Reclamation alone was $2,942,916.65. Consequently, when all outstanding accounts are paid, a small balance will probably remain to the credit of the scheme, notwithstanding the great increase in the cost of work during recent years due principally to the drop in exchange from 3/-, at which rate the original estimate was made. The Ordinance provides, however, that the cost per square foot of any particular allotment is not to he fixed at the average cost of the whole Reclamation but at the average cost of the particular Section on which such allotment is situated. It is therefore more than probable that there will be a debit balance on some of the Sections, but it is certain that any such balance will only amount to a small percentage on the original estimated cost. The actual cost in any particular case cannot be exactly stated until the revision of the accounts, now in progress, has been completed, and the necessary adjustments have been made between the various sections or between them and the Re-construction of Government Piers.

 

The actual construction of the Reclamation was commenced in February, 1889; so that about 14 years have been occupied in its execution. In an outlying part of the Harbour such a reclamation could have been carried out in less than half the time, as it would have been possible to proceed with the entire work simultaneously, but such an arrangement in the case of the Praya Reclamation, which extends throughout the entire frontage of the principal business part of the City, would have caused intolerable inconvenience and consequently it had to be carried out by degrees. There were also other circumstances which seriously affected the progress ofthe work.

 

The original design of the new Praya Wall was prepared when Mr. J. M. PRICE was at the head of the Public Works Department. Just before the commencement of the Reclamation Works he was succeeded by Mr. S. Brown who made some fundamental alterations in Mr. PRlCE’s design necessitating the employment of special plant, some of which had to be obtained from England. Although the rubble foundations for the Praya Wall were being proceeded with while the special plant was being obtained, a season’s low tides were lost, and it may be said that the works suffered a year’s delay, at the outset, through the change in design.

 

The principal feature of the new design for the wall was the substitution of blocks for granite footings, with the view of using the blocks, in the first instance as temporary weights for loading and consolidating the rubble foundations. This was a slow and expensive process; but it was justified by results. The temporary load caused more or less settlement of the foundations throughout their whole extent, and they generally reached a permanent; bearing before the superstructure was commenced. In some instances, however, the settlement became so slow, during the later stage of the application of the load, that the blocks were removed before settlement was quite complete, and in building the superstructure an allowance for further settlement was made. in other instances the foundations suddenly collapsed, under the temporary load and, when this happened. the blocks had to be picked up with the aid of divers, the rubble foundations made good, and the temporary load replaced. Had the temporary loading of the foundations been dispensed with, it appears likely that several lengths of wall, probably after being finished to coping level, and backed up with earth, would have collapsed, and had to be rebuilt at great trouble and expense.

 

Another cause of delay was the period of severe depression and scarcity of money which was experienced in 1892, when doubts arose as to whether the Marine Lot-owners could fulfil their obligations in providing the funds necessary for the completion of the authorised works. The letting of new contracts was postponed until it was decided that the scheme was to be gone on with and carried to completion and, before this decision was arrived at, a season's low tides were lost, causing practically 1 year’s delay.

 

According to the original programme, the Reclamation was to be commenced simultaneously at both ends, and the works were to be carried on until they met in the middle; but owing to the refusal of the Lot-owners on Section No. 1w to come into the scheme, that portion of the Reclamation was not taken in hand until 1898. ln carrying it out, the rubble foundations of the sea wall subsided repeatedly, and caused more trouble and delay than any other equal length of foundations.

 

Owing however to delays on the part of the Contractor for Section No. 6W, Mr. TSANG KENG, work on section No. 1W, was completed practically simultaneously with it.

 

Much of the work performed on the Reclamation is invisible, the foundations of the Praya Wall extending down through water and mud to the hard ground. This means that the depth of the wall and rubble mound, from the top of the coping to the bottom of the foundations, varies from 27 to 80 feet. In addition to being extended out to the new Praya Wall, the Storm-Water Drains had to be reconstructed from the old Praya Wall backwards, for distances varying from 100 to 1,450 feet. The aggregate of the areas of the Reclamations outside the old Praya Wall has already been given as 65 acres, but the whole surface of the old Praya had to he raised, and portions of the surfaces of the adjoining streets. Thus the total area dealt with was 80 acres, and the total weight of materials used in the works may be put at something like 3,500,000 tons.

 

When it is mentioned that the cost of the entire work per square foot of‘ building land has amounted to about $2 to $3 and that portions of the land in the western and central districts have realized $8.78 and $20.00 per square foot, respectively, there can be no question as to the success of the scheme from a financial point of view. The scheme has also been of great benefit in providing new and wide thoroughfares throughout the principal portion of the City and in affording accommodation for the great development which has occurred in the trade and population of the Colony. In addition to the sum expended upon the Reclamation itself, a large sum, probably about $4,000,000, has been spent in the erection of buildings on it.

 

68. Bacteriological Institute.-The staff of the Public Works Department being fully occupied with other work and the provision of a proper institute in which to conduct bacteriological investigations being considered pressing, Messrs. LEIGH & ORANGE were commissioned to prepare a design with a view to tenders being called for. The necessary plans and documents were nearly completed at the end of the year. The site selected forms part of the Taipingshan Resumed Area, being situated immediately west of the junction of Caine Lane and Ladder Street.