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LCQ2: Sai Kung road improvement measures and berthing space
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     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Elizabeth Quat and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (April 27):

Question:

     Given that the population of Sai Kung has been increasing incessantly in recent years, traffic congestion occurs frequently at certain sections of Hiram's Highway, which is the major road linking up Sai Kung with East Kowloon and Tseung Kwan O. Moreover, Sai Kung is praised as the Back Garden of Hong Kong and quite a number of members of the public and tourists go to Sai Kung for recreational purpose during holidays. The high traffic volume so generated has overloaded Sai Kung's transport infrastructures. On the other hand, in recent years, many members of the public and tourists take leisure boats from Sai Kung to visit the Hong Kong Global Geopark of China, resulting in a shortfall of berthing spaces for leisure boats in the inland sea of Sai Kung. Regarding the easing of land traffic congestion and improving the berthing facilities for leisure boats in Sai Kung, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) given that the Hiram's Highway Improvement Stage 1 project is underway, whether the authorities have implemented temporary traffic measures to alleviate the impact of the project on the residents of Sai Kung; if they have, of the details and implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) given that some members of the Sai Kung District Council have relayed to me that traffic congestion often occurs on Clear Water Bay Road and New Clear Water Bay Road at present, and they have therefore made the proposals of (i) widening the section of New Clear Water Bay Road near Shun Lee Estate from a three-lane to a four-lane carriageway, (ii) constructing a two-lane-two-way flyover straddling Clear Water Bay Road and spanning from Fung Shing Street at Choi Wan Estate to New Clear Water Bay Road, and (iii) constructing a flyover at the section of New Clear Water Bay Road near St. Joseph's Anglo-Chinese School connecting Lung Cheung Road, Prince Edward Road and Kwun Tong Road, so as to ease the traffic congestion in the relevant areas, whether the authorities will accept those proposals; if they will, of the details and implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that and the improvement measures to be taken by the authorities to ease the traffic congestion in the areas concerned;

(3) whether it will plan afresh and increase the number of berthing spaces for leisure boats in the inland sea of Sai Kung; if it will, of the details and implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that; and

(4) whether it will consider providing ancillary facilities for leisure boats, e.g. provision of water taps, petrol filling stations and fire-fighting installations along the shore; if it will, of the details and implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

     Our reply to various parts of Dr Hon Elizabeth Quat's question is as follows:

(1) The Hiram's Highway Improvement Stage 1 project commenced on March 30, 2016. To avoid affecting traffic on the Hiram's Highway, Highways Department (HyD) will carry out some of the works during non-peak hours, such that the number of existing traffic lanes would be maintained during peak hours. To this end, new traffic lanes will be completed prior to the closure of existing road sections for modification works.

     HyD is planning for the set-up of a Traffic Management Liaison Group (TMLG) in this year to manage and minimise the traffic impacts arising from the construction works. The TMLG will mainly involve representatives from departments and organisations concerned including HyD, the Transport Department, the Police and the contractor, etc. Since utility diversions would be involved, utility companies would also attend the TMLG meetings on a need basis.

     The TMLG will examine temporary traffic management schemes proposed by the contractor, taking into account effects of other roadworks in the vicinity. The contractor has to obtain the consent of the TMLG to the proposed temporary traffic management schemes before implementation. During implementation of the proposed temporary traffic management schemes, the Police and the resident site staff engaged by HyD will closely monitor the traffic conditions and the contractor would be required to make refinements where necessary. HyD will report the status of temporary traffic arrangements and works progress to the Sai Kung District Council (SKDC) from time to time. HyD will consult the SKDC about major temporary traffic arrangements before implementation if needed.

(2) The Government has been monitoring the traffic conditions in areas around Clear Water Bay Road and New Clear Water Bay Road. Last year, the Government extended the public light bus stop at Clear Water Bay Road westbound near Choi Hung Interchange and removed the roadside railings to facilitate pick-up and set-down of minibus passengers in order to maintain a smooth traffic flow at that section of Clear Water Bay Road.

     Regarding the widening of the section of New Clear Water Bay Road near Shun Lee Estate from a three-lane to a four-lane carriageway as proposed in the question, it should be noted that the Government will launch a series of road improvement measures to tie in with the Development of Anderson Road Quarry site. These measures include the widening of the Kowloon bound lane of the section of New Clear Water Bay Road near Shun Lee Estate from a single-lane to a two-lane carriageway (i.e. a total of four lanes for both directions); improving the road junction of Clear Water Bay Road and On Sau Road; the provision of U-turn facilities at the section of Clear Water Bay Road near Fei Ngo Shan Road. Moreover, the gradual commissioning of Route 6 (including Tseung Kwan O íV Lam Tin Tunnel, the Trunk Road T2, and the Central Kowloon Route) will provide the necessary relief to the existing heavily utilised road networks in central and eastern Kowloon while meeting the anticipated traffic demands to be generated from planned development projects in these areas. Under the circumstances, the Government will not consider the two proposals mentioned in the question for the time being, viz. constructing a two-lane two-way flyover straddling Clear Water Bay Road and spanning from Fung Shing Street at Choi Wan Estate to New Clear Water Bay Road, and constructing a flyover at the section of New Clear Water Bay Road near St. Joseph's Anglo-Chinese School connecting Lung Cheung Road, Prince Edward Road and Kwun Tong Road. The Government will continue to closely keep in view the traffic conditions in areas around Clear Water Bay Road and New Clear Water Bay Road and will consider and explore suitable traffic management measures at appropriate time.

(3) and (4) Marine Department (MD) assesses the demand and supply of typhoon shelter space in Hong Kong periodically to ensure that there is sufficient sheltered space in Hong Kong waters for local vessels (including pleasure vessels) to seek refuge during typhoons. In view of increasing size of newly licensed local vessels and rapid growth in the number of pleasure vessels in recent years, MD is conducting a review to assess the demand and supply of typhoon shelter space, and to look into the provision of berthing space on a territorial and regional basis (including inland sea of Sai Kung) as well as their management, including provision of ancillary facilities such as firefighting facilities, drinking water and fuel replenishing facilities, etc. The review is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Ends/Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:59

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