MTR Corp should build all of South Island Line underground

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 March, 2009, 12:00am

Most people will agree that an underground mass transit rail network throughout Hong Kong will benefit everyone and help ease our above-ground congestion.

However, with all the technology available there is absolutely no need to build any MTR track above ground. We do not need yet another repeat of the awful concrete snake of the line to Ma On Shan. No visual impact report will ever convince me that this is beautiful or invisible. To even plan a route above ground in this day and age should cause public outrage.

On Saturday I joined an MTR tour of the proposed viaduct route close to St Paul's School near the Aberdeen Tunnel exit facing Ocean Park [on the South Island line].

We stood and listened to the birds, watching photographers on their annual pilgrimage to capture pictures of the beautiful cotton tree flowers. We were all appalled that there will be a viaduct over the top of the flyover to the entrance to Aberdeen Tunnel, which is already going over Wong Chuk Hang Road, making the MTR route the third level of concrete at this point. And this height will be continued to the proposed Ocean Park MTR station. There are numerous issues we were told that make a tunnel impractical, one of which is the need to block the Aberdeen waterway to construct the tunnel to Ap Lei Chau.

Cross-harbour tunnels have been built without blocking any waterway. But in Hong Kong we have a problem with a 90-metre stretch of water.

Apparently a tunnel would take that much longer to complete. What is built in haste will be regretted forever. Time taken now would be really well spent.

Of course, we all realise that above-ground construction is the cheapest method and will naturally maximise the MTR Corporation's profits.

Our MTR network should be built to serve the people of Hong Kong not to suit the purse of the MTR Corp. It should do the right thing for the people of Hong Kong. Give Happy Valley a station and build the whole line underground. A viaduct of any length that is four-plus storeys high is a concrete snake and an abomination. It should not be built.

M. Jones, Shouson Hill