THE MIRACLE OF ’ 98 19 9 8年的奇蹟

Discovery - - DISCOVERIES 新發現 - Mark Jones編輯總監

AT THE END

of 1999, the ConExpo organisation chose its top 10 construction projects of the 20th century. They included the Aswan Dam, the Panama Canal, the Golden Gate Bridge – and a project that had been completed barely more than a year before: Hong Kong’s new airport on Chek Lap Kok, north of Lantau Island.

The judges considered what a monumental, and expensive, task it had been. Two islands levelled, hectares of land reclaimed from the South China Sea, new suspension bridges built over that same sea, roads and a rail link installed, and over HK$70 billion spent.

Today, the experience of passing through Hong Kong International Airport (pictured) is so familiar – and usually so fast – for many of us that we barely notice it. It’s easy to forget the stir the airport and its soaring terminal design created when it opened 20 years ago this month. (And probably best forgotten is the chaos of the first few days, with flights delayed, baggage lost and an embarrassingly long list of malfunctions from toilets to taxi ranks.)

Now both Chek Lap Kok and its neighbourhood are ready for their next growth spurt. So is the airport they left behind: Kai Tak in Kowloon. And speaking of memories, the romance of that famous landing between tower blocks and washing lines only seems to grow with the years.

In this issue, one of our most accomplished chroniclers of Hong Kong history and life, Christopher DeWolf, tells the story of these two airports: 20 years and 30 kilometres apart (page 34). And if you are about to disembark at HKIA – spare a minute to take in the engineering miracle that surrounds you.

Mark Jones Editorial director

1999年底,美國國際工程展覽會選出20世紀全球十大工程,入選的括阿斯旺水壩、巴拿馬運河、金門大橋等,還有僅於一年多以前才落成、位於大嶼山北面赤鱲角的香港國際機場。

建造這個機場要將兩座島嶼夷平,同時在南中國海填出許多公頃的土地,並且在同一個海面上建造吊索橋,以及配置多條道路和一條鐵路,全部工程費用超過700億港元,評審認為這是一項龐大而昂貴的工程。

今天,對很多人來說,香港國際機 場(上圖)是一個我們非常熟悉的地方,裡面各種設施配合得當,使用起來快捷方便,暢順到令人不會留意機場內的各種運作。20年前的7月,香港國際機場落成啟用,當年對新機場宏偉建築的興奮和新鮮感,隨著歲月流逝而變淡了;而當年新機場啟用時頭幾天航班延誤、行李遺失,以及從洗手間以至的士站均出現各種大小故障的混亂情況,亦被人忘記得一乾二淨。

現在赤鱲角及附近一帶的地區,還有人去樓空的九龍舊啟德機場,都已為下一輪的急速發展作好準備。而隨著時間過去,往日飛機於啟德機場降落時,低飛掠過附近平房及晾衣架的場面,只會在大家的記憶裡不斷重溫。

擅長撰寫香港歷史與生活的Christopher DeWolf,今期講述這兩個機場(相隔20年及30公里)的故事( 34頁)。如果你即將從香港國際機場出發,在登機前不妨花點時間好好欣賞這個工程奇蹟。

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