The team will consider how to reduce the risk of accidents on elevated roads in light of the Tuen Mun bus tragedy An independent panel of three experts has been appointed to review the design of major elevated highways and recommend road safety measures in the wake of last Thursday's Tuen Mun bus disaster. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa approved the appointments yesterday. The panel will release its report in three to four months. The move came five days after the fatal crash on Tuen Mun Road when a double-decker Kowloon Motor Bus plunged 50 metres off a bridge after a collision with a container truck. Twenty-one people died. The panel will comprise three members led by Cheng Hon-kwan, who is a structural engineer and the chairman of the Transport Advisory Committee. The other two members are Wong Sze-chun, of the Hong Kong University's Department of Civil Engineering who specialises in traffic and transport engineering, and Edmund Leung Kwong-hoi, the former chairman of global consulting engineering practice Hyder Consulting and the former president of the Hong Kong Institute of Engineers. The Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Sarah Liao Sau-tung, said yesterday that the panel had not been asked to investigate the cause of the crash, as police were still conducting their criminal investigation. Instead, the panel will concentrate on the design of elevated highways and consider appropriate traffic-management measures to reduce the risk of accidents, particularly on routes with heavy traffic. It will also review enforcement of road safety laws, focusing on whether penalties for traffic offences such as speeding are adequate. Dr Liao said the panel would consult bus and truck operators on measures to improve road safety. The highways official yesterday told the rural lobby group Heung Yee Kuk that $300,000 would be spent to install extra poles along the section of Tuen Mun Road where the bus crashed, killing 20 passengers and the driver. They will also consider short-term measures such as limiting lane changes along some sections of the road. Dr Cheng yesterday told the South China Morning Post that being independent would enhance the credibility of the experts' eventual findings. 'We will look at the design of roads, especially those which were completed a long time ago. We will see whether there is any way to upgrade them,' Dr Cheng said. Li Pang-Kwong, a senior lecturer in politics and sociology at Lingnan University, welcomed the panel's appointment. 'Unlike the Sars saga which fundamentally shook the accountability system, the crash is less political and public calls for an independent inquiry can be more easily accommodated,' he said. The government set up independent inquiry committees following the Garley Building fire in 1996, which killed 40, and the Lan Kwai Fong stampede in 1993, in which 20 died. Meanwhile, a group of relatives of the bus crash victims and legislator Tam Yiu Chung from the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong met KMB management yesterday demanding that it create a fund to assist victims' families.