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Tsing Sha Highway fully open to traffic as last section completed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 December, 2009, 12:00am

The highway connecting Tsing Yi and Sha Tin is now fully open to traffic, after Stonecutters Bridge entered service yesterday.

The HK$3.7 billion bridge, an alternative route cutting journey times between the airport and the northeastern New Territories, was opened together with Nam Wan Tunnel at Tsing Yi. Both are toll-free.

The opening of the bridge and tunnel, forming the section that spans the Rambler Channel separating Tsing Yi and western Kowloon, completes the Tsing Sha Highway.

Another section of the highway, linking Sha Tin to Cheung Sha Wan in western Kowloon, was opened in March. That section comprises three tunnels and altogether charges drivers HK$8 for all types of vehicles.

The Tsing Sha Highway was built to provide more options for travelling around Sha Tin, western Kowloon and Lantau. With the bridge in service, the journey time between Sha Tin and the airport is expected to be reduced to 35 minutes.

Four Citybus airport routes, which start from Island South, Island East and Kowloon East, are expected to save five to 10 minutes by taking the bridge instead of another highway via Kwai Chung. The world's second-longest cable-stayed bridge, it ran HK$1 billion over budget.

Yiu Ka-chun, vice-chairman of Sha Tin District Council's traffic and transport committee, said there were only two bus routes now using the toll-charging tunnels of the highway.

'Few Sha Tin residents benefit from the new highway,' Yiu said. 'It seems private car and truck drivers are the main users. Bus companies should be encouraged to use the tunnels.'

The new highway will also provide a more direct route between the airport and container terminals Nos 8 and 9 at Stonecutters Island and Tsing Yi.

Philip Pearce, managing director for Greater China of industrial- property group Goodman Asia, said demand and rental rates for warehouse and distribution centres in Tsing Yi would rise significantly.

He said a new warehouse built there by his company had attracted two logistics operators to pre-lease half of the space.