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MTRCL to proceed with preparations for West Island


    The Executive Council has given the green light for further planning of and preparations for the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) West Island Line (WIL).

    A government spokesman today (June 30) said that, on the instruction of the Executive Council, the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) would be asked to proceed with further planning of and preparations for the proposed WIL, which will involve the extension of the existing MTR Island Line from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town with two intermediate stations at Sai Ying Pun and University.

    He pointed out that the proposed WIL would provide a quicker and more convenient alternative to commuters in both the Western and Central districts who are now relying mainly on road-based transport modes. The new rail line will generate significant transport and economic benefits to the community.

    The spokesman said that at present, traffic congestion along the main corridors in Western District was prevalent. During rush-hours, traffic queues along Queen's Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central can be as long as 1km. The traffic congestion problems will persist and continue to hamper the smooth operation of franchised buses, Green Minibuses and other road-based transport modes in Western District and Central.

    "As Western District is fully developed, there are serious constraints in constructing any new roads to alleviate the traffic congestion problem. The WIL will divert passengers of road-based transport to rail services and is, therefore, fully justified on transport grounds."

    In terms of journey time, travelling by road-based transport modes for the 2.8km between Kennedy Town and Sheung Wan now takes about 15 to 25 minutes during rush-hours. When the WIL is in place, the journey time by the MTR between the two locations will be no more than eight minutes.

    The Government will begin negotiation with the MTRCL on the detailed scope, cost and implementation programme for the WIL.

    As regards the MTRCL's proposed options for the South Island Line (SIL), the Executive Council had decided to consider its way forward in the light of the results of Planning Department's review on the planning of tourism and commercial development in the Southern District and the Government's consideration of Ocean Park's redevelopment proposal, the spokesman said, adding that the planning review was due for completion by the end of this year.

    At the same time, the proposed Route 4 will be kept under review and its way forward considered in the light of the Government's decision on the SIL.

Ends/Thursday, June 30, 2005
Issued at HKT 16:21


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