The development of the road network on Tsing Yi Island demonstrates the continual commitments of the government to the future of Hong Kong and to providing quality transport system to meet and promote the sustainable development of the territory.
Speaking at the completion ceremony of Tsing Yi North Coastal Road today (February 1), the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, stressed that in the current economic downturn, the government would not reduce the investment on transport infrastructure but would bring the various projects to finalisation as soon as possible.
"We believe that the continual investment on transport infrastructure will stimulate the economy and open up more job opportunities in the short run.
"Above all, it will improve the entire transport system and sharpen our competitive edge, so as to ensure the sustainable development of Hong Kong," Mr Tsang said.
Mr Tsang said the development of the road network on Tsing Yi Island demonstrated the brilliant economic achievement contributed by the people of Hong Kong in the past decades.
In 1970s, in view of the economic takeoff, the Government decided to promote the development of new towns. As a result, the Tsing Yi Bridge connecting Tsing Yi Island with Tsuen Wan was completed in 1974, marking the beginning of the development of the Island.
He said with the rapid growth of the economy in 1980s and 1990s, Tsing Yi Island had become a densely populated area, and the second and third bridges of Tsing Yi Island were completed in 1987 and 1999 to cope with the increasing traffic flow.
Mr Tsang pointed out that the commissioning of the new airport at Chek Lap Kok demonstrated the prosperity and stability of the territory, adding that the completion of the Tsing Yi North Coastal Road provided a fast and direct access between the Airport and Sha Tin and Tsuen Wan districts.
He said: "In the next 10 years, more than 100 kilometres of major trunk roads will be constructed and improved, including Route 9 connecting Tsing Yi and Sha Tin, Shenzhen Western Corridor and Deep Bay Link."
"The sum of investment on these projects exceeds $100 billion," Mr Tsang added.
He said the Government would also focus on the development of large scale railway construction projects.
"We will have new railway projects completed almost every year in the coming five years, namely, the Tseung Kwan O Extension which will be opened to the public this year; the West Rail to be completed in 2003; the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai Rail Link and the KCR Extension to Tsim Sha Tsui to be completed in 2004; the Penny's Bay Rail Link to be completed in 2005 and the Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau Spur Line to be completed in 2007.
"We also plan to construct six additional railways before 2016 so that the total length of our railway network will be increased to 250 kilometres," Mr Tsang noted.
Mr Tsang said the sum of investment on these railway and road projects exceeded $300 billion, opening up a substantial number of job opportunities, with more than 40 000 jobs created in the next five years.
"We are confident that the railway and road works will boost our economic development and are conducive to equipping Hong Kong to meet the challenges of the future," he said.
Mr Tsang said Tsing Yi North Coastal Road would provide a direct link between the Airport and Sha Tin and Tsuen Wan districts, and that the travelling time between Tsing Yi North Bridge and Lantau Link would only be two minutes upon its opening.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Director of Highways, Mr Lo Yiu-ching, highlighted that 668 precast segments of three viaducts of the Road, each weighing up to 65 tonnes, were cast in Dongguan and then transported to the site for final erection.
The method reduced the overall construction period by some 130 days, and saved about $56 million.
The columns and beams making up the noise semi-enclosure for the Tam Kon Shan Viaduct (the fourth viaduct) were also cast in Dongguan for assembling at the site.
"Such method not only resulted in shortening of construction period but also caused minimum environmental nuisance to the residents living in the blocks that are around us," Mr Lo said.
The 2.2-kilometre Tsing Yi North Coastal Road comprising a dual two-lane road supported on four viaducts, four subways and a traffic control centre will be opened to the traffic tomorrow (February 2). Works of the project began in February 1999 and completed in December 2001. The construction was awarded to Gammon Construction Limited at a tender value of $775.6 million.
Other officiating guests of today's ceremony were the Secretary for Transport, Mr Nicholas Ng; the Secretary for Works, Mr Lee Sing-see; the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Robert Footman; the Chairman of Kwai Tsing District Council, Mr Chow Yick-hay; and the Group Managing Director of Gammon Construction Ltd., Mr Martin Hadaway.
End/Friday, February 1, 2002