Work on MTR link delays Kai Tak projects

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 May, 2011, 12:00am


A stone bridge used by Qing dynasty officials to reach the Kowloon Walled City will be preserved where it lies at Kai Tak - but it could be a decade before the public can gain access to it.

People also face a long wait to use the planned vehicle-free waterfront along the former airport runway, the first section of which will not be opened until 2016.

'We are making good progress on the Kai Tak development,' Kai Tak Office head Stephen Tang Man-bun said. 'It's just the related infrastructure that takes time to complete,' Tang said, giving details of the Lung Tsun Stone Bridge conservation plan and the waterfront promenade.

The office will seek more than HK$1 billion next month from the Legislative Council to proceed with related works, including the treatment of contaminated sediment in the Kai Tak channel and Kwun Tong typhoon shelter and construction of a fire station and ambulance depot. The office decided to preserve the Lung Tsun Stone Bridge after a year-long public consultation last year.

But Tang said yesterday it could not go on public display until 2020 as the bridge area would be part of the construction site for the MTR's Sha Tin-Central Link, due to get under way next year more than two years behind schedule.

The 200-metre bridge, which served as a landing pier for Qing officials and led to the walled city, was built between 1873 and 1875.

The bridge and the walled city were the only places kept by the Qing dynasty after Kowloon was ceded to Britain in 1898.

The bridge was found along with some foundation stones of a pavilion by the Antiquities and Monuments Office, which has recommended monument status for the site.

Tang said the public would not be allowed to step on the bridge because most of it was not intact. But it would not be enclosed and the design would allow people to appreciate the historic scene up close while protecting the structure from damage.

A pedestrian subway designed with heritage elements will be built to connect the bridge site and the Kowloon Walled City Park.

'The site will become a nice sitting-out area and a free space for different activities like street performances,' Tang said. As the bridge area will be surrounded by two commercial sites and a residential site, developers will be required to comply with a set of design guidelines so that the buildings do not affect the historic ambience of the area.

The design of the waterfront along the runway has been improved by re-routing the roads originally planned there and leaving the promenade vehicle-free.

The office is considering building a cycling track along the 11-kilometre waterfront and introducing environment-friendly transport.

The waterfront will be opened in three phases. While the first section near the planned cruise terminal will be completed no earlier than 2016, no completion date has been fixed for the second and the third sections at the metro park and Kai Tak Nullah.

Tang said this will hinge on how the government tackled water contamination in the polluted area.

Public housing at the north apron and the cruise terminal will be the earliest projects finished, in 2013.

Old and new

Lung Tsun Stone Bridge lies on the site of the new Sha Tin-Central MTR link

The bridge, built between 1873 and 1875 and used during the Qing Dynasty as a landing pier, is this many metres long: 200