Issue 48, Jul 2022

Anlev Completes Refurbishment of the World’s Longest Outdoor Covered Escalator to Client and Community Satisfaction

Anlev 完成全球最長戶外有蓋自動扶梯更新工程 客戶與社區高度滿意

After four years of hard work, Anlev Elevator Group (Anlev), the global brand of lifts, escalators, and moving walkways under ATAL Engineering Group, completed the Central to Mid-Levels Escalator and Walkway System refurbishment project this April, replacing 16 escalators and 3 moving walkways in 11 phases, one phase at a time. One of the largest contracts in Anlev’s history, the project is significant not only as a demonstration of Anlev’s strengths, but also for its value to the community.

Ir Dr Otto Poon, Chairman of ATAL Engineering Group, said, “We are glad to have completed this dynamic project in the heart of Hong Kong, delivering a top-quality, fully modernised escalator and walkway system on schedule. Thanks to the team’s hard work, we have overcome numerous engineering challenges, fulfilled our promise to the client, won local and international awards for the project and earned the goodwill of community stakeholders.”

Launched in 1993 to connect nine streets from Queen’s Road Central to Conduit Road in the hilly heart of Hong Kong, the system is over 800 metres long and rises more than 135 metres. Both an essential commute and tourist attraction that facilitates a total of more than 78,000 pedestrian trips a day, it is also the world’s longest covered outdoor escalator system and touches a unique community of diverse stakeholders: local and expatriate residents, children and senior citizens, tourists and businesses.

By the 2010s, the Central to Mid-Levels Escalator and Walkway System had provided some 25 years of continuous service and urgently needed refurbishment. With a reputation for world-class professionalism and service excellence, Anlev was awarded the modernisation and replacement works contract and commenced works in March 2018 with a mandate to uplift the system’s service quality and meet the latest safety standards. Anlev also took on the day-to-day maintenance of the system at the same time.

Refurbishing the Central to Mid-Levels Escalator and Walkway System brought myriad technical challenges. First was the very narrow worksite and physical constraints posed by the existing system, such as the canopies, which could neither be alternated nor modified. Nevertheless, we had to work out a solution to overcome the challenge. We split up our equipment into several small pieces for hoisting in and assembly at such a narrow working space. Another challenge was to deploy truck-mounted cranes for lifting purposes on the neighbourhood’s narrow streets without unduly disrupting traffic and pedestrians. With limited data of the existing equipment during the initial design stage, thanks to the hard work and perseverance of Anlev’s team, the challenges were tackled one by one, with all works completed to the clients’ satisfaction within a very tight schedule.

With meticulous planning, thorough execution and careful consideration of sustainability and the needs of the neighbourhood, the challenges were successfully overcome. Anlev’s work impressed the international engineering profession that the project won first place in the “Escalators, Modernisation” category of the ELEVATOR WORLD 2021 Project of the Year contest for its innovation, originality and creativity, challenges overcome, installation methods and techniques, and the adoption of advanced technology.

The project also won a Merit Award in the “Contractor in RMAA Works” category of the 2018 Construction Industry Council (CIC) Sustainable Construction Awards and a Merit Award in the “Public Works Repair, Maintenance, Alteration and Addition” category of the 2019 Considerate Contractors Site Awards Scheme by the Development Bureau. Both wins are a testimony to our outstanding abilities in the most complex of escalator modernisation projects.

Community engagement was also a vital element in this project, and an area that we take as seriously as the engineering challenges. In early 2018, before works began, Anlev rolled out a comprehensive community engagement programme to inform pedestrians, households and businesses in the neighbourhood about the project. This included banners, leaflets, a mass mail-out, a project webpage, a 24-hour hotline and an email address for public access and enquiries. Whenever roads were closed for escalator installation, Anlev’s bilingual traffic wardens were provided on-site to brief motorists and pedestrians on re-routing arrangements. Additional handrails and lighting were added to each section before works began for pedestrians’ convenience.

“We did everything possible to minimise disruption to the neighbourhood and kept communicating with all stakeholders throughout the project,” said Ir Dr Poon.

The diversity of the neighbouring communities also presented excellent opportunities for engagement through culture and arts. With support from the system owner – the Transport Department, and our client – the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, Anlev organised the “Connect・Community・Culture” Drawing Competition in 2019 for students and the public to reflect on the relationship between the community and the escalator system. Winning artworks and murals specially commissioned by Anlev from a renowned local artist were exhibited along a section of the escalator for public enjoyment, showcasing the creative energy originating from the refurbishment project.

“The Central and Mid-levels community now enjoys a safe, reliable and eco-friendly escalator system that is well integrated with the vibrant neighbourhoods,” said Ir Dr Poon. “The success of the project has demonstrated our strong capabilities and boosted the Anlev brand. We look forward to taking on more lift and escalator modernisation projects and maintenance services to continue to serve the community in the future.”

The Central to Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system modernisation project handled by Anlev, has won the first place in ELEVATOR WORLD “2021 Project of the Year” contest