Tuen Mun faces congestion nightmare
Traffic in Tuen Mun will get very crowded after the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge opens in 2016 because the construction of two link roads meant to siphon off vehicles will be delayed, lawmakers were told yesterday.
Undersecretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu told a Legislative Council session that work on two key roads - the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link and Tuen Mun Western Bypass - had been delayed by a legal challenge to the bridge's environmental assessment process. The roads will link the bridge and Chek Lap Kok airport with the northwestern New Territories and the mainland via Shenzhen Bay.
The link between Tuen Mun and Chek Lap Kok - which was supposed to open at the same time as the bridge - will be a year behind schedule, Yau told lawmakers.
All efforts were being focused on completing the bridge on schedule, he said.
But without the link, the Sham Tseng section of the Tuen Mun Highway is expected to be very congested in 2017, he said.
'Without the link, the vehicle-per-capacity ratio [VC ratio] of that section will be 1:25. It will be slashed to 1.18 after the link opens,' he said.
A VC ratio of 1.2 or above indicates congestion.
That estimate takes into account a programme to widen Tuen Mun Road - the area's main artery - which will be completed by 2014, Yau said.
But a larger problem will occur in the section between Tuen Mun town centre and Wong Chu Road, as the Tuen Mun Western Bypass will be opened even later than the link to the airport.
Yau said: 'We will strive to open the bypass not too much later than the link, preferably before 2019, because the VC ratio for the section between Tuen Mun centre and Wong Chu Road will reach 1.28 by then without the bypass. With the bypass it will be 0.7, which means no congestion at all.'
But Tuen Mun district councillor Yim Tin-sang disagreed, saying the bypass would not solve the problem because the design of its route is flawed.
'Officials removed one of the three entrances to the bypass,' Yim said. 'That means Wong Chu Road will share a huge amount of traffic from Shenzhen Bay, Yuen Long and Sham Tseng - with just one other entrance near the Tuen Mun hospital. Traffic between Hong Kong and the mainland will only get busier - how could there be no congestion?'
Yim said residents would stage a series of protests demanding changes to the bypass.
Expected opening date of link road between Tuen Mun and airport - a year behind schedule