December 23, 2009

Stonecutters Bridge

Stonecutters Bridge straddles the Rambler Channel at the entrance to the Kwai Chung Container Port. The approaches from Stonecutters Island on the east and Tsing Yi Island on the west are located near Container Terminals 8 and 9, respectively, and the connection forms a major part of the section of Route 8 between Tsing Yi and Cheung Sha Wan. Construction commenced in 2004 for commissioning in December 2009 after completion of the bridge deck in April 2009. Hongkong Post issues a set of special stamps to recognize this new icon of Hong Kong.

The dual 3-lane bridge is 1,596 metres long with a main span measuring 1,018 metres, the second longest cable-stayed span in the world. Supported by 224 cables running from two circular tapered towers of almost 300 metres in height, the bridge provides a navigation channel with 73.5 metres vertical clearance and 900 metres horizontal clearance for the safe passage of mega container vessels.

The bridge design is based on the winning entry of an international bridge design competition organised by the Highways Department in 2000. The two towers are constructed of steel and concrete with a stainless steel skin covering the upper portion. This unique composite design gives the bridge a modern look, echoing Hong Kong’s image as a cosmopolitan city in Asia.

The stamps showcase the splendour of the bridge from various angles — an upward view of the lofty girders and the tower ($1.40); a long shot illustrating the architectural ingenuity of this magnificent structure ($2.40); a view from sea level of the hustle and bustle of the container port under the bridge ($3); and a bird’s eye perspective of the tower demonstrating the beauty of the stay cables unfolding fanlike along its length ($5). Against the azure sky and the sapphire sea, birds glide over the bridge which stands majestically across the channel, busy with land and marine traffic, presenting a harmonious integration of technology into the environment.

Stamp Issue: 2009-12-17