Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon

Expect severe traffic congestion, Hong Kong officials warn ahead of annual marathon

Large sections of roads on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon and parts of the New Territories will be closed for the 74,000 runners taking part

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 7:38pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 11:01pm

Motorists have been warned of severe traffic disruption on Sunday, when large sections of roads in urban areas will be sealed off to accommodate the annual Hong Kong marathon.

More than 260 bus and minibus routes will be affected as 74,000 runners take to the streets in the city’s biggest sporting event, which covers Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and parts of the New Territories.

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From 11.30pm on Saturday night, special traffic arrangements will be put in place in phases, with Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay highlighted as the most affected districts.

Police expect cordons to be removed by 2pm on Sunday, depending on the finishing time for the event.

Eric Tam Ka-kei, senior transport officer with the Transport Department, said it was “very likely” motorists would endure severe congestion.

“We remind drivers once again to avoid going to the affected areas, use trains as far as possible and plan ahead for your journey,” he said.

But there was good news for those who have flights to catch on Sunday, as roads and expressways heading for the airport, including the Kowloon-bound lanes of the Western Harbour Crossing, will remain open.

To further minimise traffic disturbance to the aviation hub, the Tsing Ma bridge has been excluded from the full marathon route for the first time in 19 years.

That means runners who take part in the 42km race will not be able to step foot on Lantau.

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Asked about the change on Wednesday, marathon organising committee chairman William Ko Wai-lam said he did not think it would make “much of a difference”.

He was also confident that runners would be taken care of, as more than 800 personnel from the Auxiliary Medical Service would be deployed, while doctors, nurses and ambulance officers would be ready at first aid stations.

Apart from selfie sticks, drones have become a security concern for mass sporting events.

Acting superintendent Don Lau Tat-fai from the Kowloon West traffic division “discouraged” the operation of drones along the race track, but did not say whether it was against the law.

Three men were arrested at the inaugural Formula E race last October over the operation of drones over the race track in a move which was considered as “seriously endangering public safety”.