Rail bridge would be far better way to move people and freight

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 July, 2010, 12:00am
 

I refer to the letter by Anthony Lawrance ('High tolls will put off drivers', July 22).

If it were so easy to change drivers' behaviour by changing toll levels, why isn't it done with the cross-harbour tunnels?

I disagree with your correspondent when he says that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge was not designed to move 'more cars around the Pearl River Delta but more people'.

No, if the point of the bridge was more people, then the bridge would have a rail link and carry trains every five minutes. The sole purpose of the bridge is to carry more cargo and trucks. This will result in much more air pollution in western Hong Kong. (The environmental impact assessment doesn't take the role of ozone into account because it is 'unusual to do so in Hong Kong'.)

In my opinion, if you want to move more cargo between the mainland and Hong Kong and make greater use of the container ports, you need to connect the SAR's container ports with the freight rail network over the border. Only then will we have access to western China, indeed to the rest of the China and even to Europe.

If a bridge is necessary to carry more visitors to Macau's casinos, then it should be exclusively a railway bridge. I have made this point repeatedly to the Highways Department, but it insists on roads.

Its argument is that changing trains in Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai is not convenient for passengers.

Another argument is that the gradient for the tunnel and bridges would be too steep for cargo trains.

Any referral to cargo trains in other parts of the world that have a much steeper gradient was dismissed by department officials.

I propose that we scrap the high-speed passenger train link and replace it with a freight line to the container ports. In addition, we should replace the road bridge to Macau with a rail bridge.

Then you could also scrap the road tunnel from Tuen Mun to the airport and you would need much less reclamation at the airport for cross-border truck handling.

In future, there will still be the possibility of carrying cargo on the MTR, the Airport Express and the casino express.

Someone in Hong Kong's logistics industry or one of its universities needs to develop an urban container that fits into carriages on the MTR, trucks and mini-vans and can be loaded and unloaded quickly and easily.

Lock the container, give it an identity tag, and move it around like packets on the internet and attach an Octopus card so that everyone who moves the container gets paid.

Then you have a world-class logistics system, you avoid empty trucks and vans and people can breathe cleaner air.

I am sure that students in Hong Kong's universities would be keen to take part in a design competition mapping out Hong Kong's future.

Andreas Renn, Sai Kung

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