‘Nonsense!’ Pan-Dems attack plan for third N. Lantau link to Kowloon

Yet another huge and hard-to-justify road project may be headed Lantau’s way.

With work yet to be completed on the HK-Macau bridge and the Chek Lap Kok-Tuen Mun link, the government is seeking HK$87.7 million for a feasibility study on a freeway from North Lantau to Yuen Long.

Legislators said the proposed Route 11, which would connect from Sunny Bay across the strait to Tsing Lung Tau, was identical to the ‘Route 10’ scheme put forward in 1997 and that Legco ultimately rejected in 2004, Inmediahk.net reported.

Under the original plan, the freeway was to run to Lantau’s south coast and then across central waters to reclaimed area around Kau Yi Chau and the west end of Hong Kong island – an earlier version of the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM).

Kwok Ka-ki, Civic Party member for New Territories West, described it as “nonsense,” and said it was intended solely to bring traffic onto Lantau for the ELM, which is not yet approved but is slated for mid-2030s.

Kwok said documents submitted to the Legco public works sub-committee showed that the government was bent on implementing the ELM.

 

Highways Department ‘indicative plan’

He said the next step would be the government declaring that there was “no way” that the project could be rejected.”

Labour Party’s Fernando Cheung also attacked the proposal.

The government had said NT West needed road links to urban areas, he said. “How is Lantau an urban area?”

The two pan-dems also pointed out that the project should be specified under the Hong Kong 2030+ plan, which won’t be issued until next year, and called on the government to clarify its plans.

DAB member and Islands District Councillor Holden Chow said he believed Lantau needed more road connections to Kowloon and Hong Kong, but the Route 11 plan would only make the Tsing Ma area a bottleneck.

If approved, the bridge-freeway would be the third road link between Lantau and the Kowloon Peninsula.

Currently, the sole connection is through Tsing-Ma Bridge, built in the 1990s to service the airport.

One of the reasons cited for the need for Route 11 is to provide an alternative, for occasions such as the Kap Mun Shui Bridge collision in 2015 which cut road links to the airport.

But the link from the airport to Tuen Mun, part of the HK-Macau bridge project and due to complete in 2020, is already an alternative land route.

Henry Sin, a researcher for Kwok Ka Ki, has said the original proposal, known as Route 10, was estimated to cost HK$35 billion. Writing for HK01 earlier this year, he said the Route 11 was likely to cost at least twice that.

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