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Reclamation Practice in Hong Kong

Major reclamations in Hong Kong such as the Chek Lap Kok Airport have historically been carried out by
dredging. The ongoing HKBCF and the 3RS are examples of non-dredged techniques that are increasingly
being used due to environmental concerns. This involves improving the in-situ marine clays across the
reclamation site such that they have adequate strength and stability to withstand future imporsed loads
without failure, as well as limiting the settlement of the ground post reclamation construction within
tolerable limits. This method has been used in Hong Kong as suggested by (add case study here).
Drained reclamations have been in particular more effective in Hong Kong and involve consolidation of
soil by providing alternate

Lessons Learnt

Historically dredged method was preffered. However it has been seen that If alluvium is thick settlement
can still be observed. Where soil beneath the reclamation site has large deposits of alluvium and
residual soils, large long term settlements have been observed (add case here)

Uncontrolled end tipping has generally exhibited significant ground deformation and the formation of
mudwaved beneath the reclaimed site. Additionally following construction, due to differences in the
reclaimed profile, large initial differential settlements may be resulted when the ground is subjected to

2.1 Design
2.1.1 Types of Improvement
The compressibility and strength of soft clay can be improved by the following
methods :
(a) Reduction of water content of the soil by mechanical
methods, e.g. by preloading, vacuum loading, pumping,
together with the use of vertical drains.
(b) Alteration of the physical and chemical properties of the
clay, e.g. by freezing, electro-osmosis (Casagrande et al,
1981; Wilkins & Chandler, 1990), and mixing with lime,
cement or other chemicals (Terashi et al, 1979).
(c) Reinforcing the clay with structural elements such as sand,
gravel or stone columns, geofabrics, piles, soil nails or
grout to allow loads to be transferred to the underlying,
more competent strata.
The following discussions will concentrate on the use of vertical drains as this is the
method commonly used in Hong Kong for improvement of soft clay.
2.1.2 Types of Vertical Drains
Vertical drains can be classified into cylindrical drains and prefabricated band-shaped
drains. The common cylindrical drains are the traditional sand drains, sandwicks and
wrapped flexible pipes.
(1) Cylindrical drains.
(a) Sand Drains - Sand drains were first used in California in
1934 (Jamiolkowski et al, 1983). The drains are formed by
filling sand into holes made in the ground. The vertical
columns of sand provide a pathway for the excess water.
The sand served both as a path for the water and as a filter
for soil particles. For good performance, the sand drain
should be a continuous full-diameter column of
uncontaminated filter sand with the least amount of
disturbance imparted to the adjacent insitu soil. The mud
returns brought up to construction level also need to be
properly disposed of.
Sand drains are still widely used. In Southeast Asia they
have been successfully used in constructing part of Changi
airport ir^ Singapore (Tan et al, 1982). More recently,
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about 1 million displacement-type sand drains of 400 mm in
diameter have been installed by vibration to treat the upper
20 m thick soft clay layer at the Kansai Airport site offshore
from Osaka, Japan (Maeda et al, 1990). In Hong Kong, a
notable example is at the Chek Lap Kok test embankment in
1982 ENCON, 1983), where 330 sand drains of
500 mm diameter were installed on a 3 m triangular grid
spacings in a 50 m x 50 m test quadrant.
(b) Sandwicks - First developed in India (Dastidor et al, 1969;
Hughes & Chalmers, 1972), the sandwick consists of sand
prepacked in a filter stocking (initially of woven jute now
replaced by propylene and melt-bonded fabrics) which is
placed in a pre-drilled hole or into a mandrel. A notable
use of sandwicks was in the Porte Tolle trial embankment
in Italy. The performance of the sandwicks was recorded
as satisfactory (Hansbo et al, 1982). An average vertical
strain of 5% was measured in this trial. In the UK, a
number of major application of sandwicks have been
reported, however it is noted that there seems to be no
documentation of the application of the sandwicks in cases
of larger vertical strains (say over 20%).
(c) Wrapped Flexible Pipes - This kind of drains consists of
flexible, corrugated, plastics pipes surrounded by either a
natural fibre layer or a manufactured filter fabric. In order
to have better performance, the drains should be made from
materials which should not disintegrate or become brittle
during the service life. They should be tough and flexible
enough to withstand the installation stresses.
(2) Prefabricated band drains. Band drains have now been used widely because of
the relative ease in handling and the greater speed in installation. It is also commonly used
because of the ease of prefabrication, quality control and stockpiling on a mass production
scale and hence they are relatively economical. Band drains are generally more efficient than
other types due to the relatively small disturbance to the adjacent soil during installation.
According to Jamiolkpwski et al (1983), there are more than 50 varieties of band drains
available. Only a few of these have been used in Hong Kong.
Band drains are divided into monolithic and composite types. For monolithic type, the
core also acts as filter. For composite types of drains, they are formed by a core and a filter
sleeve. The primary function of the filter sleeve is to ensure that fine particles are not able
to pass into and clog the drainage paths in the core. The core provides a passage for the
displaced pore water to drain away. There are generally three forms of core, namely,
studded (cuspated, spun), filament and grooved, which are in preference order because of the
consideration of the potential for clogging of the core. Premchitt & To (1991) summarise
the dimensions, weights, tensile and filtration properties, and material composition of some
of the more commonly-used types of band drains.
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2.1.3 Design Considerations for Band Drams
The usual design requirements for drains generally consist of the following :
(a) Mechanical strength of the core and filter to withstand the
stress and strain during installation.
(b) Transverse permeability.
(c) Soil retention and clogging resistance.
(d) Vertical discharge capacity under lateral pressure.
(e) Performance under folding.
(f) Durability.
Amongst these properties the more important aspects are the properties that control the
vertical discharge capacity, den Hoedt (1981) suggested that the minimum vertical discharge
capacity should be at least 90 m3/yr. This discharge flow capacity is generally large enough
to cater for the inflow of water from the surrounding soil, and most of the vertical drain
manufacturers have stated vertical capacities above this value.
The importance of testing method was investigated by Queyroi et al (1986) who found
that observed vertical drain flow capacities were less if they were confined in soil rather than
in a membrane. Oostveen (1990) found that laboratory-tested vertical discharge capacities
of various drains generally indicated a reduction in flow varying from 20% to 30% within
a 7 day period under a normal confining pressure, and some drains have larger reduction.
Long term test results given by Koda et al (1986) have shown that the short-duration flow
capacities were substantially different from results of longer duration tests particularly when
they were under large confining pressure.
The permeability of the filters of the drains should be at least ten times larger than the
soil permeability to ensure that the geotextiles remain more permeable than the adjacent soil
assuming that some pores will clog. For soil retention, Holtz & Christopher (1987)
recommended that for woven geotextiles O95 should be smaller than D85, and for non-woven
geotextiles O95 should be smaller than 1.8D85. (O95 is the hole size for which 95% of the
openings in the geotextile are smaller and D85 is the 85% grain size of the soil).
For durability, paper filters are susceptible to degradation and softening. Hansbo &
Torstensson (1977) found that untreated paper filters tended to lose their function within 18
months after installation. The life of a paper filter can be lengthened considerably by
impregnation (e.g. with Cu-8-hydroxy-quinolinate), with apparently no risk of contamination
to the surrounding soil and groundwater. Apart from paper filters, other filter fabrics made
by synthetic polymer fibres can be easily affected by exposure to ultraviolet light and high
temperature (Pang, 1989). Polymer filters generally suffer less deterioration than paper
filters, but long-term storage of polymer products under direct sunlight should be
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The installation of band drains induces small disturbance to the ground. It is due to
the relatively small sizes of the drain, the mandrel and the anchor shoe. The drains can
function properly within a shorter time than sand drains. The spacing of drain installation
depends on soil properties, viz. the coefficient of horizontal consolidation, Ch, and the desired
degree of consolidation at the end of the soil treatment programme. It is common to use 1.5
m to 2.5 m spacing for a triangular pattern or a square grid pattern with spacings ranging
from 1 m to 4 m. Mathematically, the number of drains to be installed for square and
triangular patterns is in the ratio of 1A*J3 : 1 for a given area and a given drain spacing.
The drains are generally used in soft clay of up to 20 m thick (McGown, 1982; RMP
ENCON et al, 1988). However, one type of band drain known as Geodrains has been used
to consolidate marine mud of up to 43 m thick at Changi, Singapore (Choa et al, 1979). In
such deep drain applications, greater concern should be put on the control and monitor of
2.1.4 Site Investigation for Design Parameters
Recent reclamations are mostly in areas much further into the sea away from original
shoreline. Typical strata from seabed surface to the underlying bedrock, in order of
increasing depth, includes :
(a) Marine deposits.
(b) Alluvial deposits.
(c) Insitu decomposed granite.
Immediately underlying the seabed is typically a layer of marine deposits. Both marine
clay and marine sand were found in Hong Kong but they commonly occur in different
locations. Offshore site investigations make extensive use of several techniques (Fung et al,
1984) which include :
(a) Use of piezocone.
(b) Use of field vane tests.
(c) Drilling with mud to stabilise the hole and the use of field
piston samplers to obtain high quality samples of the soft
seabed mud.
(d) Laboratory testing using stress history and normalised soil
engineering properties (SHANSEP) (Ladd & Foott, 1974)
In order to establish typical parameters of the upper marine mud for design purposes,
a review was made of the published data of marine clays in Hong Kong and is summarised
in Table 1.
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2.1.5 Method of Estimating Settlement
The primary consolidation settlement under reclamation fill and surcharge with band
drains installed in the soft clay may be estimated as follows :
(a) For soft clay, the Barren's (1948) theory of radial
consolidation and Carillo's (1942) theory of combined radial
and vertical consolidation is used in the estimation of the
primary consolidation settlement of the soft clay layer with
vertical band drains.
(b) For medium stiff to hard alluvial clay, the settlement is
estimated from theory of vertical consolidation using
computer programs.
The secondary compression settlements are estimated using the coefficient of secondary
compression (Ca). Mesri et al (1994) developed an approach for use in the estimation which
has been adopted successfully in a sensitive clay in Sweden.
2.2 Construction
2.2.1 Installation of Drains
The effectiveness of the vertical drainage system depends not only on the materials
employed but also on the method of installation and workmanship. Vertical drains can be
installed by various methods such as displacement method, drilling method and water-jetting
The displacement method is commonly used. The method will disturb the ground and
will remould the soil. A smear zone is induced, which reduces the permeability and increases
compressibility of the soil. Smear is defined as the disturbance of a zone of soil around the
vertical drain (Yoshikawa, 1990), and can reduce the effectiveness of the vertical drain. The
installation rig must have sufficient power to penetrate the ground and recover the mandrel
from the designed depth.
It is known that large-displacement driven techniques give rise to considerable ground
disturbance. This problem seems to be reduced by the technique of jetting. However, water
jetting near slopes and embankments can destabilize the subsoil. The method of jetting should
not therefore be considered as first-choice. The size of mandrel should be as small as
possible in order to reduce the smear zone, hence minimise disturbance and remoulding of
surrounding soil.
The verticality of band drains should be maintained. This is important in case of long
and deep drains otherwise part of deep zone may lack drainage. Practically, this is controlled
by means of a crude pendulum indicator on the mandrel of the installation rig.
Numerical analysis on the smear zone has been carried out. The effects of various
thicknesses of smear zones have been analysed by Barron (1948). A ratio of 10 : 1 was
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assumed by Barren (1948) for the permeabilities of the undisturbed and smeared zones and
this gave much longer time to complete the consolidation for the thickness of smear zone
equal to drain's radius. However, Hansbo et al (1982) assumed ratios 2 : 1 and 3 : 1 for
Geodrains and displacement-type sand drains respectively.
2.2.2 Surcharge Preloading
In order to accelerate the drainage of water from the soft clay layers through the band
drains, surcharge is commonly placed over the reclamation fill. The surcharge height is
estimated such that a degree of over-consolidation is required to minimise secondary
compression settlement of the soft clays and to allow for an adequate margin for any
unexpected load increase. The duration of surcharge is however estimated based on the value
of the coefficient of horizontal consolidation, Ch, after making allowance for the smear
around the vertical band drains. The dissipation of water would result in the consolidation
of the soft clays, hence stronger and stiffer clays at the end of consolidation. The surcharge
will induce more rapid gain of the strength.
2.2.3 Instrumentation
Instrumentation and performance monitoring is commonly carried out for most large
marine reclamations. The usual measured parameters are settlement (both at the surface and
within the soil strata), and excess pore water pressures. The deep settlement markers usually
consist of a concrete block, placed on top of one metre of fill, with a rigid pipe cast into the
concrete and extending above sea level. The surface settlement markers can be installed after
the reclamation reached the final level. The markers usually consist of a brass measuring pin
cast into a concrete block. Piezometers should be installed at the centroid of the drain
triangle or drain square.
It is desirable to install instruments before the placement of fill (except for surface
settlement markers) and before installation of vertical drains so that baseline data and
subsequent changes can be monitored. Dunnicliff (1988) suggested that up to half of the
instruments be installed before construction and the rest at a later stage to minimise any risk
of damage during construction activities. It is prudent to provide for duplication of
instruments. It is also better to use different types of instruments as a duplicate when
possible. This helps to check the correctness of a particular system.
2.2.4 Workmanship
The effectiveness of the band drains can be influenced by the workmanship of the
contractor in installation. Common problems which usually occur during installation of drains
include the smear effects, the accuracy of the spacing of the drains, the effective discharge
drainage path and the drainage capacity of the drainage layer.
Smear zone around the vertical drain is due to the soil disturbance during installation.
Smear decreases permeability of the soil adjacent to the drain and results in slower
consolidation. Soil disturbance can be controlled by minimizing the number of raising and
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lowering of mandrel through the soil during installation. Vibration hammer should be
avoided, if possible, as a means to drive the drains into the ground.
The positions of the drains can be set out by simple surveying equipment. Survey pegs
and markers are positioned to guide the plant operator in order to achieve the designed drain
spacings. It is usual to ensure drains are installed to at least one metre below the bottom of
the soft clay deposits in order to ensure an effective discharge drainage path.
Mud waves can be generated if the filling process is not carefully controlled. They
may contaminate the drainage layer and hence prevent proper functioning of the band drains.
Mud waves can be avoided when blanketing fill layer is kept to 0.5 m thick or less. Such
thin layer filling causes minimum disturbance to the marine mud.
An example to illustrate the importance of good workmanship is the installation of sand
drains at the Chek Lap Kok test embankment. The performance of the drains was not as
good as expected, as the initial rate of consolidation was not much faster than the area
without any drains, although it got better later on. Further investigation showed that there
was necking of the sand drains probably due to workmanship. This led to the presence of
the marine mud at the centre of the drains impairing the permeability.
2.3 Performance
2.3.1 Settlement in Soft Clay
It is expected that when loaded with reclamation fill, the soft clay layer by itself will
take many years to reach 90% consolidation which is too long for most construction
programme. The use of vertical drains in soft clay will accelerate the rate of consolidation
to an acceptable level.
In the case of Lai Chi Kok Bay Reclamation (Bramall & Raybould, 1993), the initial
prediction for the marine mud of 13 m thick to reach 90% consolidation was 30 years. It was
then decided that vertical drains be used to accelerate the consolidation process. A triangular
grid at 2 m centres with 100 mm wide band drains were installed. The consolidation
settlement observed at 400 days was between 0.75 m and 2.23 m, which was near
completion. Post-construction settlement in underlying alluvium and insitu decomposed
granite was in this case assumed to be relatively small due to their low compressibilities and
high Cv values.
The main test embankment in Chek Lap Kok is divided into four test quadrants. One
is a control quadrant in which no artificial drainage was installed, while sand drains and band
drains were installed in the soft marine clay in the other three quadrants. The main test area
was loaded with the fill to approximately the working stress level. By comparing the rates
of settlements in different quadrants, the effectiveness of the drains can be assessed. The test
embankment was monitored over an eight-year period. Table 2 summarises the magnitudes
of the total settlements and vertical drains in soft clay in different test quadrants. Very large
settlement occurred in the soft marine clay layer with only a small settlement in the lower
layers. Most of the settlement occurred in the first couple of years, and there remained some
small settlements in the long term.
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The test embankment exhibited long term settlements after more than eight years. For
the quadrant with band drains at 1.5 m spacing, the rate of settlement after eight years was
about 2 mm per year in marine clay, and about 20 mm per year in the alluvium. At that time
the primary consolidation in marine clay was completed due to acceleration by band drains
and the observed settlement rate was a small long term creep. In contrast the settlement rate
in stiffer alluvium was much greater indicating that the primary consolidation in the layer was
not yet completed.
2.3.2 Asaoka's Method of Analysing Consolidation Settlements to Obtain G Value
The Asaoka's (1978) method is commonly used to obtain the coefficient of horizontal
consolidation, Ch, value by analysing consolidation settlements. It should, however, only be
used when initial consolidation data is available to predict later stage of consolidation. The
details of the method are illustrated in Appendix A.
In the North Lantau Expressway project, Ch is evaluated from settlement measurements
using the Asaoka's method. It is shown that high Ch(field) values are obtained for vertical band
drain spacings greater than or equal to 1.5 m centre-to-centre. A trend of Ch(fldd) value
increases with increasing drain spacing can also be observed (Maunsell Geotechnical Services
Ltd., 1995). This may be due to the smaller proportion of disturbed marine clay present
within the soft clay mass when the vertical band drains are installed at a large spacing.
Furthermore, the Ch(fieid) values are dependent on many other factors, such as :
(a) Disturbance caused to the soft clays during placement of the
reclamation fill.
(b) Type of mandrel and shoe used in the installation of vertical
band drains.
(c) Type of plant used and method of installation.
(d) Performance of vertical band drains under high lateral
stresses and folded conditions, and the performance of the
vertical drain filter fabric.
(e) Variations in the quality of the batches of prefabricated
vertical drains supplied to site, also different types of drains
may perform differently under high stresses.
3.1 Pavement Design
In the case of pavement design, flexible pavements should be used throughout for
roads on reclamation. Flexible pavements consist of sub-base, road base and surfacing,
whereas rigid pavements consist of sub-base and concrete slab. Therefore flexible pavements
is capable of accommodating a greater range of differential settlements than rigid pavements.
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Settlement will have to be considered in the design of roads and any associated structures
constructed on shallow foundations, such as underpasses and retaining walls, on reclaimed
Care will be required in the transition area between the reclaimed and existing land
and where a road passes over a structure in order to minimise differential settlements. If
required, a more flexible pavement should be specified or transition slab should be
considered. Flexible pavements can also be used to accommodate future road extension work
more easily and may be strengthened comparatively easier by adding further surfacing
material, whereas rigid pavements cannot be strengthened by any means short of complete
reconstruction. The design lives of 15 - 20 years for flexible pavements and 30 - 40 years
for rigid pavements depending on the types of road are recommended for Hong Kong,
(Highways Department, 1993).
In the case of Chek Lap Kok Airport runway and taxiway pavement, the design is
carried out in accordance with the ICAO (1990). A flexible pavement design is
recommended based on potential future ground settlement and the objective of efficiently
maintaining a surface within acceptable operational tolerances (Greiner-Maunsell, 1991).
Transition slabs are usually used at abutments when it is predicted that excessive
settlement of the approach embankment will occur.
3.2 Piled Foundation
In Hong Kong, piled foundations are commonly used to support highway structures
in the reclamation area where reclamation fills often overlie compressible marine mud.
Downdrag or negative skin friction is expected to occur as the weight of the surrounding soil
is transferred to the piles during consolidation. The piles should be designed to resist
loadings by a combination of end bearing and shaft friction as appropriate and the extra loads
arising from the effect of negative skin friction should also be considered.
It is known that small settlement could induce full negative skin friction on piles.
Therefore it is a common practice in Hong Kong to design the piles to cater for negative skin
friction in reclaimed land, even in dredged reclamation. A method for evaluating downdrag
forces under Hong Kong conditions is given in GEO (1996). BS5400:Part 2:1978 (BSI,
1978) suggests that the effect of differential settlement be regarded as a permanent load where
there is reason to believe that this will take place, and no special provision has been made
to remedy the effect. In deriving the design loads at both the utlimate and serviceability limit
states, the partial factors of safety for loads arising from differential settlement should be
assessed and agreed between the engineer and the control authority.
3.3 Underground Pipes
The alignment of a drainage system normally has a minimum gradient of 0.67%.
However, much flatter gradients are often necessary particularly when the drainage system
is present in reclaimed areas. In the case of the depth at which pipes should be laid, it is
commonly specified, in Greiner-Maunsell (1991) for example, that a minimum depth of 1.2 m
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to pipe crown/soffit levels will be used. The branch drains will, if possible, be kept within
the top layer of fill forming the reclamation. It also recommends the outfalls of the drainage
system be above the tidal influence level to permit free discharge and hence provide good
hydraulic characteristics.
As far as the drainage pipe materials are concerned, reinforced concrete box culverts
are recommended in Greiner-Maunsell (1991) for the main drainage. They can be
constructed insitu or precast on site and erected in sections. They can be of variable width
to height ratio which enables good flow capacities at slack gradients to be achieved which are
usually critical in large reclamation. Precast concrete pipes are used primarily in branch
drains for pipes up to 2100 mm in diameter, and are readily available in Hong Kong. It is
also recommended that storm drainage be designed as a flexible system with flexible spigot
and socket pipes and movement joints in the culverts to safeguard against structural damage
caused by differential settlement which is expected across the site after completion of the
reclamation. The effect of differential settlement on maintenance is of particular concern
because an irregular culvert invert could lead to increased silting. Although the tidal effects
on the storm drainage system will help flush the drains, the initial settlement and post
construction residual settlement should be limited.
In the case of the Lantau Port Development for Container Terminals 10 and 11, it was
considered that the total residual settlement should be comfortably accommodated by all
services and structures. The drainage culverts are the dominant utilities and the settlement
criterion should be acceptable from the drainage point of view with respect to hydraulic
performance and structural integrity considerations. The drainage culverts appear to dictate
the differential settlement criterion and particular concern should be paid to the implications
of residual settlement on the hydraulic and structural design of the drainage culverts.
Water Supplies Department advises that there is no specific criteria on differential
settlement as flexible joints between sections of water pipes is usually used. Flexible joints
can usually accommodate up to 5 degrees of angle change.

Since the establishment of Hong Kong in 1841, reclamation projects had created an
extensive developable land along the shoreline of the territory. The techniques used in Hong
Kong have changed since the early days. The different methods can be classified into
different phases over the years (Yoshikawa, 1990).
In the 1850's, the common method was uncontrolled end-tipping fill onto a seabed area
enclosed by rubble mound 'seawall'. Fill materials, which consisted of any available material
ranging from building debris to refuse, were placed directly onto the seabed and allowed to
settle with time. The disturbance of the marine deposits led to the creation of a mud ahead
of the reclamation front, which subsequently generated differential settlement.
In the period of 1950 to 1960, the change in economy of Hong Kong from entrepot
to manufacturing commenced. The reclamation method used was still end-tipping. With
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thicker deposits of soft clay offshore, there was a higher probability of large settlements and
long consolidation time. In 1952, a reclamation project for the extension of the airport
runway out into Kowloon Bay started. The project had to deal with the soft marine clay
below the seabed which was up to 10 m thick. Based on estimates of strength and
compressibility of the marine clay, it was necessary to dredge mud only from beneath the
runway and boundary seawall but to leave the marine mud in place in less critical area. The
dredging of marine mud was to avoid the differential settlement. Other reclamations in that
period were for housing sites, utilizing the spoil resulting from levelling hills on the Kowloon
peninsula to form further sites.
In the period of 1960 to 1970, the same basic technique of building boundary seawall
was used. That was achieved by removing the marine clay from underneath and then by
fill. As usual, mud-waves formation was a problem to be tackled. In practice, mud
was often trapped resulting in an underlying mud layer of variable thickness. It needed a
number of years for the reclaimed land to consolidate prior to development. By the 1970's,
the techniques of drained reclamation using vertical drains were undertaken and became
known. The usefulness of drained method was demonstrated by the construction of test
embankments in early 1980s, and many reclamation projects using drained technique was
completed satisfactorily since that time. Case histories of some important reclamation
projects are given below.
4.2 Kai Tak Airport
Grace & Henry (1957) described the planning and design of the present layout of the
Kai Tak International Airport. This was a major redevelopment of the original airport, which
consisted of two short runways at the time. The location of the site is given in Figure 1.
The works included reclamation in Kowloon Bay for a 2500 m runway and a taxi way. It was
formed by full dredging of mud under the seawall, partial dredging under the runway and the
taxiway and the mud was retained in other areas. A typical section across the reclamation
is shown in Figure 2.
The partial dredging under the runway was to reduce settlement while leaving
considerable amount of the mud insitu. It was estimated that with this method, the residual
settlement in mud layer would be less than 150 mm at the time of pavement construction.
This amount was considered acceptable. It was also estimated that the long term settlement
in the soil deposits beneath the mud would be about 300 mm to 600 mm occurred over many
years after construction. The airport has been in operation since the completion of the
construction work in the late 1950s.
4.3 Shatin Sewage Treatment Works
The location of the reclamation site is shown in Figure 3. End-tipping method was
used. Initially the fill was dumped directly on the seabed mud without any prior treatment.
Attempts to push mud offsite by progressive filling at this site were unsuccessful, which
resulted in up to 15 m of re-worked semi-liquid mud slurry beneath the fill in places. The
site on which a piled foundation was being constructed to support a sewage treatment tanks
was unstable. Many of the unreinforced concrete insitu displacement piles had to be
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abandoned. After many investigations and testings, acceleration of settlements in these areas
using wick drains as a remedial work was successful, (Yoshikawa, 1990). This was the first
documented case of the use of vertical drains in Kong. The abandoned piles were later
replaced with H-piles or reinforced concrete piles. The sewage treatment work was built on
the reclamation, and has been in operation since early 1980s.
4.4 Test Embankment at Chek Lap Kok
Between 1981 and 1983, a ground investigation for the proposed Replacement Airport
at Chek Lap Kok, which was located at the north west of Lantau Island (Figure 4), was
carried out. This was a part of the series of studies at this site which culminated in the major
construction work to be completed in 1998.
The study area consisted of soft marine clay overlying alluvium which in turn overlain
insitu weathered bedrock. The soft marine clay belongs to the Holocene age, a younger
formation comprising mainly marine mud. The marine mud was about 5 m to 10 m thick.
The alluvium was an older, lithologically more complex than the soft marine clay across the
site. The deposits comprised predominantly clays and sandy silts of low compressibility.
The study was undertaken to seek suitable measures to deal with the marine mud at
the site. A test embankment was constructed on behalf of the Civil Engineering Office, Hong
Kong Government in order to assess the use of vertical drains and the method of building
over the mud without causing mud-waves. The construction site of the monitored test
embankment was located to the west of Chek Lap Kok Island, a plan and a section of the test
embankment are shown in Figure 5. The programme commenced in December 1981 and was
completed in early July 1982 with fill thickness of about 10 m on the seabed. An additional
fill layer of 5 m was placed in the test area of embankment in January 1983 to achieve the
estimated thickness of fill of the planned reclamation for the airport.
A seawall was built surrounding the test embankment and was founded on the upper
alluvial crust after removal of soft marine clay.
The soil profile under this area consisted of 7 in of soft marine clay, and 16 m to 25 m
of alluvium (clay and sand layers). The test embankment was about 250 m by 250 m in area
and about 200 m offshore. The main test area was divided into 4 quadrants. They consisted
of one control quadrant, one quadrant with sand drains of 500 mm diameter at 3 m triangular
grid spacing, two quadrants with Alidrain (trade name of a band drain) at 1.5 m and 3 m
triangular grid spacing respectively. The dimension of the band drain was 7 mm thick and
100 mm wide.
The rate of consolidation was recorded, the settlement monitoring results in soft clay
for all quadrants are given in Figure 6. Under the weight of the 15 m thickness of fill and
the mud thickness of 7 m, the quadrant with band drain at 1.5 m at triangular grid spacing
experienced the fastest rate of primary consolidation of 12 months. The total consolidation
was 2.4 m. There was small long term settlement due to creep after completion of primary
consolidation. The settlements for quadrants with band drain at 3 m spacing, sand drain and
with no drain were 1.9 m, 1.7 m and 1.5 m respectively at 12 months. The settlement of
marine mud was under a maximum loading of 240 kPa with a maximum strain of 40%.
- 21 -
Subsequent investigation after consolidation showed that the liquidity index decreased from
1.0 to 0.7 due to the decrease in water content and the vane shear strength increased from
less than 10 kPa to 70 kPa.
The final design of the New Airport at Chek Lap Kok in early 1990s involved much
larger area of land reclamation and with shorter construction time than those planned in early
1980s. The design and actual work adopted required removal of mud for the whole site.
Long term settlements in the soil layers beneath the mud, after mud removal, were estimated
to be of the order of 400 mm to 500 mm occurring in a duration of the order of about ten
years or so (Greiner-Maunsell, 1991). At present reclamation work is completed, and the
airport is planned to be fully operational in 1998.
4.5 Part of Island Eastern Corridor at Sai Wan Ho
The reclamation (Figure 7) covered an area of 22 ha as a part of Island Eastern
Corridor project. It was to accommodate 600 m section of at-grade road, 1,400 m long
seawall, two ferry piers and building development.
A geotechnical investigation prior to the design and construction of the reclamation
showed water depth to seabed of about 13 m to 20 m. The marine clay layer about 12 m
depth overlain alluvium and weathered granite. The reclamation fill thickness was about
18m and it was estimated to induce considerable settlement over a period of 9 years if the
marine clay was not treated. It was necessary therefore to accelerate the settlement in the
road areas. Many options were considered including dredging and replacement of marine
clay, preloading and installation of vertical drains. After consideration of the time and cost,
material and plant resources, and site conditions, it was found that using vertical drains is the
most appropriate method.
Design and reassessment were conducted in several phases and finally the band drain
Colbond CXI000 at 2.5 m spacing was used on a triangular grid with the revised estimated
settlement of 1.0 m and 90% consolidation was to be achieved within 18 months. A
settlement/time plot is given in Figure 8. Surface settlement observations continued for a
period of 21A years after completion of the works at a part of the Corridor. The settlements
were on average about 40 mm for the 2l/2 year period, with about 10 mm of this occurring
in the last year of observation. The road was opened in 1985. The area was developed as
planned. This reclamation now satisfactorily accommodates 17-block Lei King Wan Housing
Estate, Eastern Law Courts, an International School, bus terminus and part of Island Eastern
4.6 Lai Chi Kok Bay
In March 1987, a consultancy services for the Lai Chi Kok Bay Reclamation -
Stage II, was conducted by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Partners (Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick
& Partners, 1987) on behalf of Civil Engineering Services Department, Hong Kong
Government. The works consisted of the reclamation of the remainder of Lai Chi Kok Bay,
construction of works to protect the piled piers of the existing Lai Chi Kok road Bridge and
an extension of the existing storaiwater culvert to the new shoreline.
- 22 -
The geology profile of the site comprised recent marine deposits including marine mud
(5 - 13m thick), marine sand (0 - 6 m), alluvial deposits (0 - 8 m) and insitu decomposed
granite (1 - 8 m). From the result of ground investigation, the thickness of marine mud
increased from 5 m to 13 m across the Lai CM Kok Bay eastward and seaward. The site
covered an area of approximately four hectares, and the location of the site is shown in
Figure 9.
Substantial settlements of the reclamation were expected to take place after completion
of filling as a result of the consolidation of the various soil layers under the weight of the
reclamation fill. Settlements caused by the consolidation of fill, alluvium and insitu
decomposed granite were anticipated to be small in comparison with that caused by the
consolidation of marine mud. It was estimated that the total settlement would be between 1 m
and 2 m.
The Lai Chi Kok Bridge was a key transportation artery between the urban part of
Kowloon and the western part of the New Territories including Kwai Chung container port.
It was important to adopt a method of reclamation such that it would not cause major
instabilities on the mud layer nor generate lateral forces to the existing bridge foundation.
Non-dredging schemes were preferable to the dredging of the seabed as the later method may
cause large movements in the marine mud which could exert lateral forces on the bridge
It was estimated that complete consolidation of marine mud will take 30 years.
Therefore vertical drains were installed to accelerate the consolidation. Flodrain (brand
name) band drains (100 mm wide) were installed at 2 m centres on a triangular grid. With
these vertical drains, it was indicated that 90% primary consolidation of the marine clay layer
would be achieved in about 4 years. The settlement data is plotted in Figure 10. In 1989,
the Lai Chi Kok Bay reclamation was constructed. The reclamation consisted of an average
10 m thick of fill overlying 7 m to 13 m marine mud. The reclaimed land provides an
extension to Lai Chi Kok Park and an access to the West Kowloon Reclamation. No
significant problems associated with this reclamation have been reported.
4.7 Reclamation for Tuen Mun Town Development at Castle Peak Bay
Tuen Mun was one of the several large new town being developed by the Hong Kong
Government between mid 1980fs and early 1990's. In order to provide the necessary land
to accommodate the town and its infrastructure, an extensive reclamation was carried out
progressively in Castle Peak Bay. The final reclaimed area was about 250 ha, (Hadley,
1992). The part of the reclamation site described by Hadley is shown in Figure 11.
Dredging of marine mud on the seabed was first considered in order to minimise mudwaves
problems during construction. It was later decided that dredging would be
uneconomical as a volume of about 25 million cubic metres would have required dredging,
disposal and replacement. Dredging was therefore only allowed in areas where stable
foundations were required, such as seawalls, breakwaters, river retaining walls and large
culverts. Drained reclamation was proposed in the remaining areas.
Site investigation indicated that marine deposits of up to about 8 m thick within the
- 23 -
reclamation area was underlain by about 10 m of alluvial material. Vertical drains, Desol
drain which was a French product, were installed on a 3 m triangular grid. Each drain was
required to penetrate the mud and terminated at a level at which driving met refusal.
The vertical band drains performed satisfactorily in accelerating consolidation of the
marine mud and resulted in primary consolidation being substantially completed within 12
months of filling to final level. Summary of the settlement monitoring results is given in
Figure 12.
The reclaimed area now accommodates a public housing estate named Siu Lun Court
which contains twelve blocks of flats, Hanford Garden which is a private housing estate of
seven blocks of flats, and two secondary schools. The long term performance of the
reclamation has proven to be satisfactory.
4.8 Yau Ma Tei Typhoon Shelter Reclamation
70 ha of land were reclaimed from the old Yau Ma Tei Typhoon Shelter and the sea
at Ferry Point (Jordan Road Ferry Pier Area) under a CED contract, (West Kowloon
Reclamation Division, 1994). This reclamation work formed part of the Airport Core
Marine mud layer, about 12 m thick, was present below the seabed. It was proposed
that removal of marine mud was kept to minimum in order to minimise the environmental
impact, and the time and cost of dredging and backfilling of the reclaimed land. However,
marine mud in areas where urgent developments were necessary was dredged. These
developments included the Airport Railways, West Kowloon Expressway and Waterloo Road
Culvert Extension.
In the remaining areas, vertical drains were installed in order to shorten the settlement
period. Figure 13 shows the location of the band drain installation. Alidrain was used for
this project and was installed at a spacing of 1.5 in on a triangular grid.
Geotechnical instruments including settlement plates, surface movement markers,
pneumatic piezometers, standpipes and magnetic probe extensometers were installed in the
reclaimed area to monitor geotechnical conditions of the reclamation. However, except
settlement plate and surface movement marker, most of the delicate instruments were
damaged during the hydraulic sand filling operation. A typical monitoring result of settlement
is shown in Figure 14. In general, performance of the vertical band drains was satisfactory.
Monitoring was terminated when the contract maintenance period expired in December 1995.
It was planned that the area will soon be developed to accommodate commercial and
residential buildings, institutional and government facilities, with some parts devoted to park
and recreational areas.
4.9 Macau Airport
The case of Macau Airport is included here because of its technical interest, even
though it is not located in Hong Kong. The location is very close, the site shares many
- 24 -
common ground characteristics and it has similar construction industry as those in Hong
Kong. The construction and settlement control at the Macau Airport was described recently
by Carter (1996). The site location map is given in Figure 15. The single runway and
associated taxiway were built on an artificial island formed by reclamation work on the
seabed. The mud was removed from under the seawall, the runway and the taxiway but it
was retained in other areas with removal of the upper 1 m to 2 m layer only. The section
across the artificial Island is show in Figure 16. Band drains at about 1.5 to 2.0 m spacing,
and surcharging, were used to accelerate the settlements in deep clay deposits in the areas
where the mud was dredged and in both the mud and the underlying clay deposits where the
mud was retained.
The tolerance for settlement of runway was quoted as about 150 mm after paving. It
was estimated that total settlement for runway would be about 2.0m with acceptable residual
settlement after paving. For other areas the estimated total settlement was up to 4.0 m.
Long term settlement of the order of 250 mm was estimated. Extensive measurement of
settlement over the reclamation was carried out. An example of the results is provided in
Figure 17. The reclamation work was completed and test flights were conducted on schedule
in June 1995. The airport is now in normal operation.
There are currently two reclamation options commonly adopted in Hong Kong for
achieving the settlement objectives, namely dredged method in which the marine mud is
removed and drained method in which the mud is retained and the settlement is accelerated
by vertical drains.
While dredged reclamation cannot entirely eliminate the problems of settlement, mainly
due to consolidation of alluvial clay left in place, it requires large amount of fill materials,
marine mud dump sites and pose considerable environmental problems particularly if the mud
is contaminated.
Vertical drains have been used successfully on several reclamation projects in Hong
Kong since the first reported project at Shatin in the 1970fs. This technique reduces the
requirements for fill materials and disposal sites to a minimum, and has less environmental
impacts. For most projects the drained method will also be considerably cheaper.
The use of vertical drains will provide preferential drainage paths in the marine mud
to enable excess pore pressure to dissipate quickly. Surcharging further increases the rate of
consolidation and precompresses the material such that the amount of secondary compression
is reduced. The use of vertical drains in conjunction with surcharging is a viable alternative
method to dredged reclamation

Construction of the 938 ha reclamation for

Hong Kong's new airport at Chek Lap Kok
was essentially complete in July 1995. The
construction of facilities on the reclamation
commenced, prior to completion of the
reclamation, in November 1994 and will be
complete early in 1998 in time for the
airport opening. Settlement of the reclamation
has been ongoing during construction of
these facilities and will continue, at a
reduced rate, during the operational life of
the airport. This paper briey describes the
ground conditions at the site in so far as
they affect settlement. Settlement predictions
based on purely analytical methods using
parameters derived from laboratory and in
situ testing are discussed. A more reliable
`observational' prediction method which
makes full use of the monitoring data is
described and estimates of the residual
settlement of the reclamation are given. The
paper then describes the factors which
result in signicant variability of the settlement
prole over relatively short distances
and examples of this variability are given.
Finally, the implications of the settlement on
the design of the airport are briey discussed.
Keywords: geotechnical engineering; land
reclamation; subsidence

Details of the design and construction of

the reclamation are given in References 1 and 2
and geotechnical aspects of the project are
summarized in Reference 5. Based on the
results obtained from a test embankment constructed
at the site in 1982,6 it was determined
that the very soft marine clay should be
removed from below the reclamation. The
specication for the dredging allowed up to 1 m
of the clay to be left in place. Three material
types, referred to as types A, B and C, were
specied for use as general ll. Grading
envelopes for these ll types are given in
Reference 1. A ll allocation plan was developed
which optimized the use of available ll materials
in the reclamation. A simplied version of
this plan is included in Fig. 1.
7. Type A is a well-graded, hard, durable
rock ll formed by bulk blasting with a maximum
size of 2000 mm and a maximum nes
(,0:063 mm) content of 5%. Type B is a wellgraded
ll from excavation with a maximum size
of 300 mm and a maximum nes content of 50%;
in practice this material was essentially completely
decomposed granite (CDG). Type C is
material from marine sources with a maximum
size of 100 mm and a maximum nes content of
20%; in practice type C is a marine sand with a
mean grain size of 08 mm.7 During construction
of the reclamation a fourth material type,
referred to as type A/B was agreed for use in
general ll areas. The grading envelope for this
material is an amalgamation type A and B ll; in
practice the material is a rockll with a small
but variable content of CDG.
8. The majority of the reclamation was
constructed by end tipping of rockll and
bottom dumping or hydraulic placement of
marine sand with no subsequent ground treatment.
Limited areas of the reclamation have
additionally been subjected to ground treatment,
principally either surcharging or vibrocompaction.
Surcharging was designed to accelerate
primary consolidation of the underlying alluvial
clay and also to improve the creep characteristics
of the rockll, for example where the
southern runway crosses the former island of
Lam Chau. Vibrocompaction was carried out
where type C sandll was placed in areas of the
reclamation which were to be developed during
the rst phase of airport construction.8 The
vibrocompaction was required to reduce creep
settlement of the sandll and to reduce the
potential for vibration-induced settlement of the
ground surface during follow-on construction
activities, in particular piling.
9. The contract for construction of the
reclamation also included installation of geotechnical
instrumentation. The instrumentation
comprised surface settlement markers and subsurface
inclinometers, extensometers and piezometers.
The subsurface instrumentation was
typically installed in clusters. A typical cluster
consisted of a central borehole extensometer
with a number of piezometers, typically four,
installed within 15 m of the extensometer. The

piezometers comprised a combination of vibrating

wire and pneumatic piezometers installed in
the alluvial clay layers, and standpipe piezometers
with Casagrande tips installed in the ll
and basal sand and gravel layer. For further
details of the surface and subsurface instrumentation
see References 9 and 10. The locations
of the clusters are shown in Fig. 1.
Early settlement predictions
10. Primary consolidation of the alluvial clay
forms the greatest proportion of the total
settlement, typically 70% or more. When predicting
settlement of the clay by purely analytical
methods the most critical parameters are
the pre-consolidation pressure (p9c), the compression
and swelling indices (Cc and Cs) and
the coefcient of consolidation (cv). Details of
parameters for consolidation analyses, based on
extensive site investigation work carried out in
1982, are given by Koutsoftas et al.
11 Fig. 4
summarizes the typical spread of p9c values for
samples of the alluvial clay. Also shown on Fig.
4 is the vertical effective stress prole after
completion of the reclamation. The compression
and swelling indices are affected by the material
grading which is variable. A measure of this
variability can be seen in Fig. 5 which summarizes
some of the Atterberg limit data for
samples which are described as being predomi-

nantly clay. Typically Cc ranges from 02 to 06

with an average value of 04. The ratio Cs=Cc is
approximately 014.
11. Determination of an appropriate value
for cv is critical when making time settlement
predictions. Unfortunately it is also one of the
most difcult parameters to assess prior to
construction. The coefcient of consolidation is
not a fundamental soil parameter but rather is a
function of both soil stiffness and soil permeability.
Both stiffness and permeability are
variable and change with effective stress and
stress history. As a result, cv also varies with
effective stress and therefore varies during a
loading increment. A number of methods can be
used to determine cv from an oedometer test. 12
Each method uses data from different stages in
the consolidation process and as such the
methods give differing cv values for the same
test data. The effective value of cv generally
decreases with increasing degree of consolidation
and becomes less variable in the latter
stages of the consolidation process. The commonly
used assumption that cv is constant can
therefore be seen to be an oversimplication
when making long-term time-settlement predictions.
It is also of note that cv values derived
from laboratory and in situ tests often underestimate
eld values. 13
12. The test embankment was constructed
primarily to assess the performance of the very
soft marine clay. Only limited information was
obtained on the performance of the underlying
alluvial deposits. Prediction of settlement prior
to construction of the reclamation had therefore,
of necessity, to be based on the results of in situ
and laboratory tests. Additional site investigation
work carried out in 1991 enabled Greiner
Maunsell, the designer of the airport platform,
to carry out detailed design of the reclamation.
The designers recognized that the extreme
variability of the alluvial deposits and the
difculty in determining representative values
for cv rendered accurate prediction of the time
settlement performance of all parts of the
reclamation virtually impossible. The designers
therefore carried out sensitivity analyses to
ensure that the overall design was practicable
and also to determine where ground treatment,
by for example surcharging, would be necessary.
13. The following assumptions formed the
basis of the design.
(a) The reclamation ll materials would form
the upper drainage boundary to the consolidation
of the underlying alluvium. The
water table in the ll is affected by tidal
uctuations which attenuate with distance
from the sea wall.
(b) The extensive sand and gravel layer at the
base of the alluvial deposits would form the
lower drainage boundary. There was, however,
some uncertainty as to the effectiveness
of this drainage boundary.
(c) During the design of the reclamation the
coefcient of consolidation of the normally
consolidated alluvial clay was assumed to be
in the range 1:54 m2/year with an average
value of 2 m2/year.
(d) Primary consolidation settlements were
likely to continue for ve to ten years after
construction of the reclamation over much
of the site.
(e) Signicant creep settlement was expected in
the reclamation ll materials, with the
logarithmic creep rate parameter, , typically
in the range 0510.
( f ) Variability in the settlement prole across
the reclamation was considered to be
primarily as a result of variations in the
thickness of the alluvial clay below the
reclamation. Settlement calculations were
carried out at a spacing _ 200400 m with
linear interpolation between these points.
Limited consideration was given to the
variability of the ll materials.
14. Based on the above assumptions, the
residual settlement between January 1997 and
2040 was predicted by Greiner Maunsell to be
typically in the range 300700 mm for areas
with no ground treatment. As noted earlier,
sensitivity analyses were also carried out to
provide upper and lower bound settlement
Settlement predictions during
15. During construction of the reclamation,
monitoring data became available relating to the
performance of the reclamation ll materials
and the underlying alluvium. Typical time settlement
data measured by extensometers installed
through the ll and alluvium are shown
in Figs 6(a) and (b) respectively. A considerable
period of time can elapse between construction
of the reclamation and installation of an extensometer.
The settlement which occurs during
this time is not known. In order to allow a
direct comparison of the results it is useful to
select a common base time for comparison of
the settlement data. For the purposes of this
paper a period of one year after construction of
the reclamation to the underside of the capping
layer has been chosen and the settlement
arbitrarily set to zero at this time.
16. The monitoring data enabled the settlement
predictions to be continuously rened and
an `observational' approach based primarily on
the monitoring results to be developed. In order
to understand fully the overall performance of
the reclamation, the following factors need to be
(a) the pore pressure boundary conditions

(b) the excess pore pressure prole in the

alluvial deposits and how this excess pore
pressure is dissipating
(c) the link between the rate of excess pore
pressure dissipation and rate of settlement,
thereby enabling calculation of the residual
primary consolidation settlement
(d) the likely rate of secondary compression of
the alluvial clay
(a) (e) the rate of creep in the ll materials.
dWhen these factors have been established it
should be possible to make statements about the
rate and magnitude of residual settlements and
to compare these with the original predictions
made using laboratory-derived parameters.
17. Finally, and most importantly, the variability
of residual settlement across the reclamation
needs to be established, as it is differential
settlement rather than total settlement which is
the crucial issue in design. In this respect the
following factors need to be considered
(a) the variability in the nature of the alluvial
deposits both laterally and vertically
(b) the inherent variability of the reclamation ll
(c) the effects of the construction sequence
(d) the effects of ground treatment and other
construction-related activities on the properties
of the ground.
Drainage boundary conditions
18. The ll material forms the upper drainage
boundary to the consolidation of the
underlying alluvial clay. In the coarser type A
and A/B ll material the water level varies
almost exactly in line with the tidal uctuation,
see Fig. 7(a). In the less permeable type B and
C ll the water level is more strongly controlled
by rainfall, rising in the wetter summer months
and dropping to the mean sea level in the drier
winter months, see Fig. 7(b). The data shown in
Fig. 7(b) were acquired on a weekly basis and
may have missed the peak groundwater levels
which would occur during or shortly after heavy
rainfall events.
19. The pore pressure measured in the basal
sand and gravel, which forms the lower drainage
boundary over the majority of the site, is
shown in Fig. 8. It can be seen that the pore
pressure peaked early in 1995 which coincided
with the reclamation being nearly complete. The
pore pressure has continued to drop since that
time as the rate of consolidation of the alluvial
clay has decreased. There is also evidence of a
small artesian groundwater pressure in the basal
sand and gravel which is independent of construction-
related activity. Piezometers installed in
sand bodies within the alluvial clay have
indicated that these do not usually have a
signicant effect on consolidation of the clay.
Excess pore pressure in the alluvial clay
20. The excess pore pressures recorded by
the piezometers located in the alluvial clay in
July 1995 are summarized in Fig. 9(a). The
gure indicates the magnitude of the excess
pore pressure by the size of the circle which is
centred around the position of the piezometer.
Where more than one piezometer is installed
within a borehole or within a cluster then the
circles will be centred around the same point. A
similar plot is given in Fig. 9(b) for all the
piezometers at January 1997. It should be noted
that some of the piezometer results shown in
Figs 9(a) and (b) are affected by adjacent
stockpiles of ll material. Based on a review of
the pore pressure data, the following points are
(a) As expected,14 there is a signicant reduction
in the rate of consolidation measured in
clay strata where the nal stress due to
reclamation is greater than p9c when compared
with clay strata where the nal stress
is less than p9c.
(b) The maximum excess pore pressures are
typically recorded towards the middle of the
clay sequence, generally within a layer of
softer clay where the standard penetration
test N value is less than 1015.
(c) The piezometers installed towards the base
of the alluvial clay sequence are dissipating
towards a steady state pore pressure value
controlled by the pore pressure in the basal
sand and gravel.
(d) The construction of a surcharge resulted in
a greater proportion of the clay being
loaded above p9c. The pore pressure
response due to surcharge loading (ru) is
close to 1 and the rate of consolidation of
the underlying clay is signicantly slower
than for the general reclamation. This has
a signicant impact on the effectiveness of
Model for dissipation of pore pressure
21. In view of the variability in the ground
conditions and the complex construction sequence
at the site, it was considered necessary
to derive a simplied model for the dissipation
of excess pore pressure in the alluvial clay
which could make best use of the piezometer
data. In combination with the settlement monitoring
data this will allow an estimate of the
remaining primary consolidation settlement to
be made at various stages throughout the
construction and operation of the airport.
22. Based on the exact solution for onedimensional
consolidation15 it can be demonstrated
(see Appendix 1) that in the latter stages
of consolidation the dissipation of excess pore
pressure at any depth (uz) can be modelled
with reasonable accuracy as an inverse exponential
decay of the form
uz . AeBt (1)
where A and B are constants and t is the time
measured from the point in the consolidation
process at which A and B are determined. It can
further be demonstrated that, if at any point in
time the current pore pressure (uc) and current
rate of pore pressure dissipation (duc=dt) is
known at a piezometer then the pore pressure at
any time in the future (ut) can be predicted from
the following
ut . uce(duc=dt) t=uc (2)
23. For example, if the current excess pore
pressure at a piezometer is 60 kPa and the
current rate of excess pore pressure dissipation
is 08 kPa/week then the excess pore pressure
50 weeks later would be predicted to be
u . 60e(50 3 0:8=60) . 31 kPa (3)
This method of excess pore pressure prediction
can only be used when the excess pore pressures
measured at all the piezometers in a
cluster are showing a steady decrease. For
piezometers below the reclamation this method
is typically applicable to data obtained approximately
10 weeks after the most recent major
change in loading above a particular cluster.
Where the alluvial clay is relatively thick the time
required before a steady decrease is observed is
correspondingly longer.
24. As shown in Appendix 1, the monitoring
results can also be used to back-analyse the
average coefcient of consolidation (cv) for the
total alluvial clay thickness. If the total thickness
of alluvial clay at a point is 2H, then assuming
two-way drainage, cv can be calculated as follows
cv . duc
uc2 (4)
The average value for cv has been calculated for
a number of piezometers where a steady decrease
in the excess pore pressure has been
observed. The mean value of the coefcient of
consolidation is 16 m2/year with a range varying
from approximately 4 m2/year to 30 m2/year. It
should be noted that these values are a mean for
the full thickness of the alluvial clay and a more
detailed assessment has been carried out to
determine eld values for each clay stratum.
Primary consolidation using the `observational'
25. Settlement as a result of primary consolidation
of the alluvial clay is occurring below
those areas of the reclamation where excess
pore pressures are still being recorded, see Fig.
9. Settlement due to primary consolidation of
the alluvial clay is being monitored by the
extensometers. The extensometers can be used
to determine the rate of settlement in the clay.
In order to make long-term predictions of the
magnitude of the remaining primary consolidation
settlement it is necessary to establish the
relationship between the rate of settlement and
the rate of dissipation of excess pore pressure.
26. During the latter stages of the consolidation
process the stiffness and permeability of
the clay can be reasonably assumed to remain
approximately constant as the effective stress in
the ground increases. The magnitude of settlement
is then proportional to the change in average
degree of consolidation (Ut). If the current
rate of compression (dsc=dt) of the alluvial clay
layer, current excess pore pressure (uc) and
current rate of dissipation (duc=dt) are known
at a particular instrument cluster then it can be
shown (see Appendix 1) that the residual

primary consolidation settlement (Rp) can be

estimated by
Rp . (dsc=dt)uc
This relationship is only applicable where the
excess pore pressure is showing a steady
decrease, see } 23.
27. Combining equations (2) and (5) allows
a prediction of primary consolidation settlement
(Spt) with time to be made based purely on
instrument monitoring data. The settlement
follows an inverse exponential decay given by
Spt . Rp 1 e

Secondary compression of alluvial clay

28. In order to complete the time settlement
curve for the alluvial clay deposit it is necessary
to make an estimate of the secondary compression
settlement. A number of long-term
consolidation tests have been carried out on
samples of the alluvial clay in order to
determine representative values for the modied
coefcient of secondary compression (c).
Although Sridharan and Prakash16 have reported
that the use of a constant value for c is
not always appropriate, the laboratory test data
indicated that the secondary compression log
time trend is linear for the alluvial soils at the
airport site. The test results are summarized in
Fig. 10. Although there is signicant scatter in
the results due to both the variable nature and
consolidation state of the alluvial deposits, the
spread and general trend show reasonable
agreement with the data for a wide range of
other clays presented by Mesri.17 Based on
these results, values for c of 05 and 03 for
normally consolidated clay and overconsolidated
clay have been adopted for prediction of longterm
29. When calculating the rate of secondary
compression of the alluvial clay below any point
on the reclamation, an estimate must be made
of the thickness of clay which has been loaded
beyond its pre-consolidation pressure and the
thickness which is still in an overconsolidated
state. When generating a complete time settlement
curve for the alluvium, secondary compression
is assumed to commence at the time
when the predicted rate of secondary compression
is greater than the rate predicted for
primary consolidation. This assumption is in line
with the method of determining c from
laboratory data results in a smooth time settlement
curve with no sudden changes in the
settlement rate.
Creep of reclamation ll materials
30. The physical mechanisms which lead to
creep of ll materials are not well-established.
The most probable causes are degradation of
the point-to-point contacts between particles and
rearrangement of particle packing due to vibrations
and particle fracture. The creep compression
has been measured by the extensometers
installed through the ll. Detailed discussion of
the creep data for the ll is outside the scope of
this paper. The creep compression of ll is
usually modelled assuming a linear relationship
with log time18 and this has been found to give
reasonable agreement with the results obtained
at Chek Lap Kok. The logarithmic creep rate
parameter () has been determined at each

The data obtained from each extensometer

have been normalized to facilitate comparison
of the results. As described in } 15, a
period of one year after construction of the
reclamation to the underside of the capping
layer has been used to assist comparison of the
results. The vertical strain within the ll has
been arbitrarily set to zero at this time (this
does not assume that the creep settlement is
zero at this time). The settlement has been
normalized by dividing by ll thickness and
plotting the data as vertical strain. An example
of the creep data normalized in this way is
summarized in Fig. 11 for ll type A/B beneath
the northern runway (note that the characteristics
of the ll placed in this area are closer to
type A). The equivalent creep rates for of 025
and 05 are also shown on this gure for
comparison purposes. A summary of the creep
data for the various ll materials is given in
Table 2.
Residual settlement of the reclamation
32. The methods set out in } 2531 have
been combined to determine a total time
settlement prediction for the reclamation at each
cluster location. A review of all the monitoring
data has enabled both best estimate and realistic
upper-bound predictions to be made. When
making platform-wide settlement predictions,
four factors have a signicant inuence on the
magnitude of the residual settlement as follows
(a) the thickness of the underlying alluvial
deposits and, in particular, the thickness and
pre-consolidation state of the alluvial clay
(b) the thickness of the reclamation ll material
and ll type
(c) the time since completion of the reclamation
(d) the effects of ground treatment and other
construction activities.
33. Prediction of both best estimate and
realistic upper-bound of the residual settlement
from January 1997 to January 2040 has been
made at each of the instrument cluster locations
using the `observational' methods described
earlier. The best-estimate predictions are shown
in Fig. 12(a). Fig. 12(b) shows a platform-wide
prediction of the residual settlement based on
an assessment of the best-estimate predictions
made using the observational methods, the four
factors (a)(b), and a review of the settlement
rates being measured by the surface markers. It
should be noted that Fig. 12(b) is schematic and
represents the generalized pattern of behaviour;
the boundaries between the various settlement

zones have been positioned based on a knowledge

of the construction sequence and underlying
34. Although the overall pattern shown on
Fig. 12(b) is realistic, the natural variability of
both the ll and underlying alluvial deposits will
result in settlements outside the ranges shown
on the gure. This aspect is discussed in more
detail later. The following general trends can be
seen in Fig. 12(b).
(a) The reduction in residual settlement due to
surcharging and vibrocompaction can be
seen, for example along the length of the

northern runway and at the southern runway

to the west of Lam Chau.
(b) The greatest residual settlements are where
the thickness of both the alluvial deposits
and ll materials is greatest, for example to
the west of Lam Chau and at the western
end of the northern runway.
(c) The construction sequence has an effect on
residual settlement, for example the northern
runway area was the last part of the
reclamation to be completed.
(d) The residual settlement of the reclamation is
typically in the range 200500 mm.
Differential settlement of the reclamation
35. The review of the instrumentation data
has provided a good understanding of the
settlement behaviour of the reclamation and has
enabled reliable predictions of the likely magnitude
of future settlement to be made. However,
as noted earlier, there are a number of factors
which all have an inuence on the settlement
rate and magnitude. When attempting to produce
more realistic estimates of residual settlement
these points need to be considered in
more detail.
Variability of the alluvium
36. The site investigation work carried out
to date has enabled a thorough understanding of
the underlying geology to be developed. This
has clearly revealed the main underlying geological
features which control the overall magnitude
of settlement of the airport platform. The
investigation has also revealed that signicant
variations in the underlying soils can be
encountered over relatively short distances; for
example, the thickness of soft clay can vary
from 10 to 15 m over a distance of less than
20 m.
37. This type of variation is common in
alluvial materials which are deposited in a
dynamic environment and are also subject to
phases of erosion and deposition. As discussed,
Fig. 3 shows a cross-section along the line of
the approach lighting at the western end of the
northern runway. This section illustrates the
type of variability that is commonly encountered
beneath the site. This variation can have a
marked effect on the localized magnitude of
reclamation settlement.
Variability of the ll materials
38. The extensometers installed through the
reclamation ll materials have enabled typical
engineering properties for each of the ll types
to be determined. The instrumentation has also
demonstrated that the properties for each ll
type are variable. The stiffness and creep
characteristics of each ll type can vary by 50%
or more from the mean value, see Fig. 11. This
type of variation is not unusual in natural ll
materials which have not been compacted. The
results obtained from the surcharging have also
conrmed this variability over relatively short
distances. Variability in the creep characteristics
of the ll will obviously have a signicant impact
on differential settlement over short distances.
Ground treatment, construction activities and
construction sequence
39. Ground treatment has been used to
improve the settlement characteristics of the ll
and underlying alluvial materials. Monitoring of
the ground treatment has enabled an assessment
of the effectiveness of this work to be
made. In addition to the areas which have been
treated, other construction factors such as
stockpiling of materials, dewatering, trench excavation
and haul road construction have
resulted in changing the settlement characteristics
of the ll materials in many areas of the
40. In addition to these noted factors it must
be remembered that construction of the reclamation
took place over a 30-month period. The
variation in time since placement of the reclamation
ll material will have a signicant effect
on the magnitude of residual settlement at
different areas of the site.
Close grid survey results
41. In light of what has been discussed, it is
not surprising that although the overall magnitude
of settlement can be predicted with a good
degree of certainty, localized variations can be
expected. To investigate this variability a number
of small areas of the site have been
monitored using a closely spaced grid of survey
points to establish the typical ground settlement
proles. Fig. 13 shows the pattern of settlement
for one such area measured over a period of 18
months. This area is located close to the
northern runway. The reclamation had been
reclaimed for approximately 18 months prior to
the commencement of the close grid monitoring
and no ground treatment has been carried out
in this area. The differential settlement pattern
shown in Fig. 13 is considered to be representative
for areas of the site underlain by type A/B
ll and to be more extreme than would be
encountered in the areas underlain by the type
A ll.
42. An analysis of the close grid survey
results and a description of how these results
have been used for the design of airport
facilities is given by Tosen et al.
19 A signicant
implication of the settlement patterns on the site
was the need to surcharge the area of the
northern runway. This surcharge is being used
to minimize differential settlements rather than
specically to reduce the magnitude of total
residual settlement. The runway has a much
tighter differential settlement tolerance than the
taxiways, aprons and roads. This tolerance is

related to ride quality rather than the structural

integrity of the pavement.
Summary of performance
43. A summary of the overall performance
of the reclamation now follows. This summary
includes a comparison with the performance
criteria assumed during design of the reclamation,
see } 13.
(a) As expected, the reclamation ll materials
form the upper drainage boundary to the
consolidation of the underlying alluvium.
The water table in the ll is affected by tidal
uctuations which attenuate with distance
from the sea wall. Where type C (marine
sand) has been used for the full depth of the
reclamation, for example in the future
mideld development area, the tidal response
is less obvious and the water level
is more strongly affected by rainfall, see
Fig. 7(b).
(b) The extensive sand and gravel layer at the
base of the alluvial deposits forms an
imperfect lower drainage boundary. A water
pressure has built up in this layer as the
extent of the reclamation increased and
more water was being squeezed from the
alluvium. This pressure has now reduced as
the rate of consolidation has slowed.
(c) Back-analysis of the piezometer data has
determined the average coefcient of consolidation
of the alluvial clay to be typically
in the range 430 m2/year with an average
value of 16 m2/year. This can be compared
with the average value of 2 m2/year determined
for normally consolidated samples in
oedometer tests.
(d) Primary consolidation settlements have
generally occurred faster than initially envisaged
but the magnitude has been
approximately as originally determined. Primary
consolidation will be more than 90%
complete beneath the majority of the reclamation
when the airport opens in 1998.
(e) Signicant creep settlement has been measured
in the reclamation ll materials with
the logarithmic creep rate parameter ()
typically in the range 0208. Creep of the
reclamation ll now typically comprises
approximately 50% of the residual settlement.
( f ) Variability of the new ll and the natural
ground below the reclamation and the
effects of the construction sequence and
construction activities all have a signicant

inuence on the variability of the residual

settlement over relatively short distances.
This creates difculty in accurately predicting
settlement at points where no settlement
data have been measured. However, bounds
can be placed on the potential magnitude.
(g) The predicted residual settlement between
January 1997 and 2040 is typically in the
range 200500 mm.
44. Some of the more important conclusions
that can be drawn from the settlement-related
work at the airport site are as follows.
(a) As noted in many projects 13 the cv values
determined from laboratory tests underestimated
the values back-gured from the
monitoring results by a factor of typically
between 5 and 10.
(b) Analytical methods of settlement prediction
based on laboratory and in situ tests tended
to overestimate residual settlement. A more
reliable observational approach using monitoring
data had to be adopted on the
(c) The differential settlement results obtained
from the close grid surveys have been of
great value 19 and similar close grids are
highly recommended for other reclamation
(d) The use of surcharge lls loaded much of
the underlying alluvial clay above its preconsolidation
pressure, leading to a reduction
in stiffness and a consequent reduction
in the rate of consolidation.
(e) Under these conditions maintaining a surcharge
in place for more than two months
did not have a signicant inuence on the
effectiveness of the surcharging work.
( f ) The monitoring work has been of great
value to the project and many design and
construction decisions have made use of the
45. When further considering the implications
of settlement on airport operations it must
be remembered that most of the new structures
are being built on either the former island of
Chek Lap Kok or on piles that extend down to
the granite bedrock, which underlies the site. In
addition, the majority of all landside facilities are
located on the former island of Chek Lap Kok.
These structures and facilities will therefore not
be affected by settlement.
46. In areas where total or differential
settlements were considered likely to cause
future problems, ground treatment has been
carried out or designs have been modied to
take account of the settlement. In this way it can
be seen that the settlement issue has been
signicantly reduced by applying good engineering
design and construction methods. This
approach has minimized the requirement for
ground treatment thereby enabling savings in
cost and time. To date the settlement performance
of the reclamation has met with the design
requirements for the follow-on facilities and is
expected to do so throughout the operational
life of the airport.