Formula E

Traffic jams and disruption promised in Central as Hong Kong hosts its first Formula E race

Police warn motorists and pedestrians to stay away from October event unless they have tickets, 80 per cent of which have been sold

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2016, 12:35am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 September, 2016, 10:38am

Hong Kong’s Central business hub is in for traffic jams and disruption next month when dozens of bus routes will be diverted and five roads blocked to make way for the city’s first Formula E race.

The two-day international event, which takes place on the weekend of October 8 and 9, is expected to draw 44,000 tourists and locals to the Central harbourfront, according to the organiser.

Police and Transport Department officials on Wednesday urged spectators to take the MTR and ferries to the racing venue. Drivers were advised to avoid Central and Admiralty on those two days.

“There will be some slight disruption, absolutely, but I think for the sake of having a major international event hosted on the harbourfront of Hong Kong ... it is definitely worth it,” Alan Fang, chief executive of organiser Formula Electric Racing Hong Kong, said. He added that 80 per cent of tickets had been sold.

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Five roads which will be used as the race track will be closed from 1am on October 8 to 6am on October 10. They include part of Man Kwong Street, Man Cheung Street, Man Yiu Street, Lung Wo Road and the entire length of Yiu Sing Street.

Dozens of bus routes will be affected as bus stops near the International Finance Centre, Four Seasons Hotel and Central ferry piers will be relocated.

“Bus trips might be unstable due to the diversions and road closures,” said Leander Tsang, senior transport officer with Central and Western district’s transport department.

Special traffic restrictions and routes will also be implemented in the area, including rules on the length of vehicles and how to exit certain roads.

Even if a driver were determined enough to negotiate all the restrictions to make it to the race venue, he will find it difficult to park with no spaces to be provided at the site.

Chung Cheuk-yiu, chief inspector of traffic with the police Hong Kong Island Enforcement and Control Division, said officers would take away illegally parked cars without notifying the drivers to keep traffic running smoothly during the event.

Curious people looking to sneak a glance of the world-class sports cars without buying a ticket would be out of luck, police said, with officers ordered to disperse onlookers due to “public safety concerns”.

“The police urge the public not to watch the race from pedestrian overpasses or places near the race circuit to avoid causing congestion or danger,” said Ku Siu-fai, chief inspector in Central district.

Although the race is scheduled to last only two days, Central could be more congested for up to three weeks to install and remove temporary supporting facilities such as concrete safety barriers and spectator stand fences.

Construction work for those facilities will start on September 26 and last until October 17. Some roads will be closed or narrowed at night during that period.

Katty Law, convenor of Central and Western Concern Group, said she expected a limited impact on residents in Central as the race track was far from residential areas and would be used over a weekend.