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LCQ11: Relationship between the road works and traffic accidents on Tuen Mun Road

     Following is a question by the Hon Tam Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (February 12):


     Recently, quite a number of residents in Tuen Mun have relayed to me that traffic accidents have often occurred on Tuen Mun Road since the commencement of the works for Reconstruction and Improvement of Tuen Mun Road (the Project) in 2008. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has assessed how far the causes of the traffic accidents on Tuen Mun Road since the commencement of the Project are related to the Project; if it has, of the assessment outcome; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) as an incident occurred on November 30 last year in which over 50 vehicles had their tyres punctured by a screw protruding from an expansion joint on a bridge when they were passing through a section of Tuen Mun Road where construction works were being carried out, whether the authorities have taken any corresponding precautionary and remedial measure targeting at the risk factors of potential traffic accidents arising from the Project, with a view to reducing traffic accidents; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether the Highways Department and other government departments disseminate, on a daily basis to road users (including bus drivers and other motorists) and members of the transport industry, information on the measures taken for the Project, such as diversion of traffic, road narrowing and imposition of speed limit etc.; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?


     With the objective of improving the Tuen Mun Road (TMR) to current expressway design standards as far as practicable, the Government has commenced the project on reconstruction and improvement of TMR (the Project), the scope of which includes reconstruction of the road section between Tsuen Wan and Sam Shing Hui, widening of traffic lanes and provision of hard shoulders, etc. The works have been progressing smoothly since their commencement in October 2008, and are expected to complete in phases in 2014.

     My reply to the three parts of the Hon Tam Yiu-chung's question is as follows:

(1) According to the records of the Transport Department (TD)(as at December 2013), the annual traffic accident figures for the road section concerned during the works are more or less the same as those before the works. The relevant figures are tabulated below.

     Year      No. of traffic accidents
                Before works
     2003                 180
     2004                 140
     2005                 149
     2006                 141
     2007                 175
     2008                 120
(From January to September
before works commencement)
                After works
     2008                  34
(From works commencement
in October to December)
     2009                 159
     2010                 180
     2011                 192
     2012                 175
     2013                 197^
 (As at December)
^ Provisional figures

     Representatives from various government departments, including the TD, Police and Highways Department (HyD), reported to members of the Traffic and Transport Committee of the Tuen Mun District Council on July 13, 2012 on the details of and causes for traffic accidents on TMR. At the meeting, the Police explained to the Committee on their investigation into the contributory factors of these accidents. It is shown in the results of the analysis that the major causes for traffic accidents are driving too close to the vehicle in front, losing control of the vehicle, careless lane changing and driving inattentively by the driver. There is no evidence linking the traffic accidents on TMR to the implementation of the Project.

(2) All temporary traffic management measures put in place for the Project since works commencement are designed in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Lighting, Signing and Guarding of Road Works (CoP) formulated under the Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations (Cap. 374G). Before implementation, these measures have to be vetted and approved by the Traffic Management and Liaison Group (TMLG) (comprising representatives from relevant government departments including the TD, Traffic Wing of the Police and HyD) established for the Project.

     The TD, Traffic Wing of the Police and HyD have been keeping watch over the temporary traffic management and diversion measures during the works. In case traffic accidents occur at or near the road sections where these measures are in place, resident site supervisory staff of the HyD will examine the measures concerned with the contractor. They will also closely monitor the traffic situation at the relevant road sections with the HyD and TD. Whenever necessary and if approved by the TMLG, improvement measures will be implemented.

     Upon receiving the report of the incident involving the tyres of a number of heavy vehicles being punctured by a screw protruding from the expansion joint on the bridge section of TMR heading for Tuen Mun near Yau Kom Tau on November 30, 2013, immediate urgent repairs were arranged by the HyD. Other expansion joints on Ting Kau Viaduct and Yau Kom Tau Viaduct were also inspected on the same day and no similar problems were identified. According to the records of the HyD, incidents of this kind involving tyre damage of a number of vehicles by a protruded screw are extremely rare. The HyD will learn from the incident, and pay more attention to monitoring the condition of expansion joints on bridges during the contractor's repairs and inspections of highway facilities in future.

(3) As mentioned in part (2) above, temporary traffic management and diversion measures arranged by the Government for major road works are subject to prior vetting and approval by the TMLG according to the CoP. For large scale temporary traffic arrangement and diversion schemes, relevant district councils will also be consulted before implementation.

     For the Project, the HyD has consulted the Tsuen Wan District Council and the Tuen Mun District Council before implementation of large-scale temporary traffic arrangement and diversion schemes (such as full closure of a section of TMR) and informed residents or management companies of nearby buildings and housing estates via notices or leaflets delivered by email, fax or by hand. Prior notification has been given to transport trades including bus, taxi and minibus operators to explain to them the implementation details. Separately, the TD and HyD have reminded road users of such measures via variable message signs installed on gantries along viaducts leading to TMR and mobile message signs erected by the contractor.

     Before reducing temporarily the speed limit of TMR, the HyD has arranged for leaflet distribution at Tsing Ma Control Area and Tai Lam Tunnel Toll Plaza to motorists and transport trades including bus, taxi and minibus operators. Huge banners have been mounted at footbridges across TMR to alert road users of the temporary speed limit. During the implementation of the measure, the contractor has installed new speed limit signs and painted conspicuous speed limit road markings to remind road users of the relevant arrangements.

     Moreover, the Emergency Traffic Co-ordination Centre under the TD is responsible for monitoring and handling traffic and transport incidents on the road. In case of occurrence of such incidents, traffic information and public transport service news will be disseminated promptly to road users, media, government departments and organisations by the Centre, with a view to minimising the impact to the public.

Ends/Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:00


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