Southern District, Hong Kong

Another red light for Happy Valley station

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am

The MTR Corp says planning and design work on its South Island line has found that adding a station at Happy Valley would cause traffic chaos for residents and be much more expensive and time consuming than previously thought.

In the latest document submitted to the Legislative Council's railway subcommittee, the Transport and Housing Bureau said the rail company had identified four possible locations for a station.

The four locations proposed would increase the cost of the HK$9.5 billion project by between HK$1.6 billion and HK$2.8 billion - much higher than the MTR Corp's first estimate of HK$1.3 billion.

It would also extend the construction period by up to 31 months and add an extra 2.5km to the 7km-extension, which will connect South Horizons in Ap Lei Chau to Admiralty.

The four options include a cavern built 70 metres under Fung Tai Terrace, at the Happy Valley tram terminus, a station in the racecourse and one adjacent to the grandstand of the Jockey Club.

This latter option would be the most expensive, as well as adding more than 2.5 minutes to the nine-minute journey between the four stations in Southern district and Admiralty.

District councillors and many residents in Happy Valley have been pushing for a station. The bureau has not yet ruled out a station, but apparently it does not favour any of the options because it said they would cause serious traffic disruptions during construction, require resumption of private land, or would have fire and evacuation implications.

The document did not mention who would pay for the station. The government previously said the Jockey Club should foot the bill as it would benefit most, while the club has argued it is wrong in principle for it to subsidise a listed company for construction of a public railway.

A Jockey Club spokesman said the club was happy the MTR Corp had identified possible locations for the station and it still believed a station would benefit the community at large. But the club was concerned that the rail company required a temporary access bridge across the racetrack in one option, which would pose a high risk to horses and riders.