Wan Chai traffic chaos to end as walkways open
By KEITH WALLIS
TRAFFIC chaos caused by contractors building a $43 million walkway system in Wan Chai is set to end in July when two footbridges are opened.
Pedestrians who previously had to dodge traffic on a busy slip road will also benefit from the Gloucester Road scheme.
The covered walkways are part of a government plan to extend all five footbridges spanning the road to make it safer and quicker for pedestrians to cross.
The building programme involved re-routing traffic through a series of concrete blocks which were set up last July to allow the contractors to build the bridges' foundations and columns.
One bridge is being built between Telecom House and Fenwick Street. The other links Sun Hung Kai Centre with the Overseas Trust Bank building and National Mutual House across Tonnochy Road.
Highways Department Hong Kong Region senior engineer Ng Tak-wong said the new bridges replaced two similar structures which have been demolished.
He said the new structures were safer because they were wider, allowing more people to use them, and that they connected directly with Fenwick Street and the bank building.
The walkways will also benefit the influx of office staff expected with the commercial developments planned for the Wan Chai reclamation.
The new bridges will provide all-weather protection and will be easier to use, especially for disabled people.
'Up and down escalators have been incorporated into both walkways. There is also a 70-metre long ramp outside Telecom House which will help those in wheelchairs. We can't provide ramps at all walkways because of restricted access,' Mr Ng said.
Local contractor Wan Hin & Company has almost completed work on both bridges.
Mr Ng said work to extend the walkway near the Luk Kwok Hotel would start when the new Fenwick Street bridge opened.