Central bypass options set out

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 April, 2006, 12:00am

Link to Wan Chai will eat up at least 11.5 hectares

The proposed Central-Wan Chai bypass will require at least 11.5 hectares of reclamation, a government-commissioned engineering report has found.

Three types of tunnel construction were studied in the report by Maunsell Consultants Asia released yesterday, with two involving the demolition of the Island East Corridor from Victoria Park Road to City Garden in North Point.

The three tunnel options will involve construction costs of between $20 billion and $28 billion and annual recurrent costs of $110 million to $125 million. The tunnel would require 15 hectares to 18.5 hectares of reclamation.

Recreational features including a promenade linking Central and North Point, a green leisure zone, and a waterfront cultural district have been included in all three versions of tunnel option.

Compared with the three tunnel options, the flyover is cheapest, costing only $11 billon to build and $75 million per year in recurrent costs. It also involves the least amount of land reclamation - 11.5 hectares.

However, the consultants concluded that the flyover would have the biggest impact, not only visually but also by imposing constraints on potential harbourfront development. No recommendation was made as to which model the government should adopt.

The report also concluded that the approaches requiring no reclamation were not feasible because of the constraints of existing buildings and infrastructure. A deep tunnel option was also ruled out because it was not technically feasible.

Legislator Kwok Ka-ki said the government had yet to convince the Legislative Council on any of the proposals. 'The government has to provide scientific data to prove that there is no alternative to reclamation,' he said.

The area of reclamation ranged from 10 hectares for the flyover option to 25 hectares for the road option, according to proposed figures released in January last year. The figures have since been trimmed down following opposition from harbour protection groups.

The report will be discussed by the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee, under the Planning Department, next week.