$4b alternative to Route 10 proposed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:00am

An alternative road costing less than a fifth of the controversial multibillion-dollar Route 10 project in the New Territories has been proposed by a rival operator.

The proposal by the Route 3 (CPS) Company, which has been submitted to the Government, involves the construction of a dual-lane carriageway for $4 billion, compared to $22 billion for Route 10. It would link the planned cross-border bridge - the Shenzhen Western Corridor - with Route 3 via Yuen Long, running from Tin Shui Wai to Kam Tin.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to decide on March 8 whether to approve $133.7 million in design work for Route 10.

Route 3 (CPS) Company has been a major opponent of Route 10 because it runs almost parallel to the already under-used Route 3. The Government has said Route 10 will not be needed until 2011 but maintains design work has to start now.

'Just last week we were told of huge deficits for years to come. There is no reason why we should waste $22 billion to build an unneeded road,' the company's vice-chairman, Winston Chu Ka-sun, said.

Mr Chu said his company's proposed link road could be completed in 2005 - the same time as the Shenzhen Western Corridor.

He said his company had lost $800 million over the past three years, and blamed the Government for providing inaccurate traffic projections. About 43,800 cars use Route 3 each day, about half the projected traffic flow.

Mr Chu said the company was seeking legal advice and might sue the Government for failing to meet its commitment.

Major political parties have also vowed to block Route 10. They want the project to be shelved until the Port and Maritime Board has discussed the site of future container terminals.

The Finance Committee's public works subcommittee gave initial approval to the project earlier this month when several legislators who vowed to block it failed to attend the meeting.

Route 10 is planned to run from northern Lantau to Yuen Long.