Traffic chaos: Cars backed up for miles in botched two-way toll launch

Lawmakers have called for the suspension of the two-way toll on Lantau Link expressway after a chaotic first day of operation.

Vehicles were backed up for hours in the westward lanes today after imposition of the new toll from early this morning.

The congestion is caused by the lack of toll booths, with the Transport Department clsoing off booths in five airport-bound lanes until December.

Ben Chan, chairman of the Legco Transport Panel, attacked the Transport Department for underestimating the traffic flow. He called on the department to suspend the two-way toll until all the facilities were ready.  According to RTHK:

The Tsing Ma Bridge, Tai Lam Tunnel, and even Tuen Mun Road became almost paralysed in the direction of the airport for a number of hours on Monday morning, as tailbacks spread further and further back from the Lantau Link Main Toll Plaza.

A number of toll booths there are still not fully constructed and several approach lanes are closed.

RTHK photo of the westbound queue this morning

Chan, a DAB member, said the Transport Department planned to open another two toll booths on Tuesday, but he believed that would not be enough to alleviate the congestion.

“This morning I drove from Yuen Long to Tsim Sha Tsui and passed the link. I got jammed there for more than half an hour. I think this arrangement is not so clear for the drivers,” he said.

Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan warned that traffic on the Lantau Link could be paralysed next month when students go back to school after the summer holiday.

Chief Transport Officer Wendy Leung suggested drivers’ lack of familiarity with the new arrangement might be causing them some time to find the cash to pay the toll.

The new arrangement, introduced ahead of the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, means car drivers pay HK$15 in each direction rather than HK$30 on the eastbound lane only.

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