Wheels turn on Central congestion

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 February, 2010, 12:00am

Drivers might feel traffic is moving more freely along Connaught Road Central after a new alternative route opens today, but it will be an illusion for some of them.

The opening of Lung Wo Road today is expected to draw 400 vehicles an hour away from busy Connaught Road. The new road is the 550-metre first stage of a route that will eventually connect Man Yiu Street - which links Connaught Road with the outlying ferry piers - with Hung Hing Road, the continuation of Convention Avenue used by drivers taking the Cross Harbour Tunnel, in 2017.

But most of them will be heading east. There will only be a slight reduction in westbound traffic because motorists have only one access to the new section from Tim Wa Avenue, alongside the Tamar site in Admiralty. Most drivers, other than those heading for the MTR's Hong Kong station, are likely to continue along Connaught Road.

'A road as short as [Lung Wo Road] cannot help much on the congestion problem,' Hon Chi-keung, the Civil Engineering and Development Department's project manager, said. 'The real solution will have to wait till the Central-Wan Chai Bypass is completed in 2017.'

As for eastbound traffic, there will be an improvement. According to the 2008 traffic census, 5,050 vehicles an hour use the section at peak periods, so removing 400 vehicles will reduce traffic flow by about 8 per cent.

Officials said more improvements would be seen when stage two of the road - to service shops and offices on the reclamation - opened next year.