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LCQ8: Eastern Harbour Crossing ancillary facilities and Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel project
     Following is a question by the Hon Ho Kai-ming and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (February 22):
     Some residents of the housing estates and courts (including Yau Lai Estate, Hong Nga Court and Hong Pak Court) near the Kowloon portal of the Eastern Harbour Crossing (EHC) have relayed to me that EHC is often congested with traffic during rush hours, the vehicular flows generated have given rise to serious traffic noise problem, ancillary facilities are lacking at the bus interchange at the tunnel portal, and the Tseung Kwan O–Lam Tin Tunnel (TKO-LTT) project underway is causing nuisance to them.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether the authorities will, in addition to the environmental mitigation measures adopted for the TKO-LTT project, consider installing noise barriers along the relevant road sections in order to reduce the impacts of the project and the traffic noise of EHC on the residents of the aforesaid housing estates and courts;
(2) whether it has plans to improve the existing ancillary facilities at the bus interchange at the Kowloon portal of EHC, including providing seats, barrier-free facilities, automatic vending machines, Octopus add-value machines, real-time bus arrival information display panels, free Wi-Fi wireless networks, etc., for the convenience of interchanging passengers;
(3) whether it will plan or enhance, as early as possible, the bus service and ancillary facilities at the bus interchanges at the tunnel portals of TKO-LTT and EHC in order to meet public demand for the relevant services and facilities after the commissioning of TKO-LTT;
(4) whether it knows if clear directional signs have been provided along the walking route from Yau Tong MTR Station to the bus interchange at the tunnel portal of EHC; if these signs have been provided, of the details; if not, whether it will make improvements; and
(5) as the Government has commenced a study on the rationalisation of traffic distribution among EHC, Cross Harbour Tunnel and Western Harbour Crossing, whether the Government will expeditiously submit the relevant report and implement the recommendations therein, so as to alleviate the traffic congestion of the roads near EHC; if so, of the details and the timetable?
        My reply to the various parts of the Hon Ho Kai-ming's question is as follows:
(1) The Eastern Harbour Crossing (EHC) was commissioned in 1989. Regarding Yau Lai Estate which is located in the vicinity of the EHC Toll Plaza, during the planning of Phases 1 and 5 of the Estate from 2003 to 2006, the Housing Department (HD) had already taken into consideration the impact of the traffic noise from the roads at the Kowloon portal of EHC, Lei Yue Mun Road and Yau Tong Road. To mitigate the noise impact on the residents of Yau Lai Estate arising from these roads, noise mitigation measures (including the construction of vertical and cantilever noise barriers, provision of architectural fins on buildings to screen off traffic noise, positioning of a 20-metre high non-residential structure between buildings and carriageways to serve as a barrier of noise, etc.) have been implemented in the Estate in accordance with the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG). Following the HKPSG, HD had also at that time installed insulated windows for certain units of Yau Lai Estate Phases 1 and 5 which were still subject to noise impact due to design constraints.
     EHC was vested in the Government on the expiry of its Build-Operate-Transfer franchise in August 2016. Selected road sections at the Kowloon portal of EHC is currently paved with suitable materials to ease the traffic noise impact on nearby residents. The Government will consider exploring if there is scope to further mitigate the traffic noise impact on Yau Lai Estate.
     To minimise the environmental impact on nearby housing estates, the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) has proposed environmental mitigation measures for the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel (TKO-LTT) project.  The proposed environmental mitigation measures include that the main carriageway of the Lam Tin Interchange will be constructed at around 20 metres below the ground level and will be covered with a landscape deck and noise cover. Moreover, some slip roads of the Lam Tin Interchange will be constructed in tunnel form, hidden between cut-slopes, or with provision of noise barriers or noise enclosures. The proposed environmental mitigation measures meet the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) (Cap 499). 
     Under EIAO, EPD approved the Environmental Impact Assessment Report with conditions on July 11, 2013 and granted the Environmental Permit on August 15, 2013 for the construction and operation of the TKO-LTT project. CEDD is carrying out the site formation works for the project adjacent to the EHC Toll Plaza. The department had coordinated with the contractor to strictly implement the noise mitigation measures as required under the Environmental Permit and to step up the noise mitigation measures as appropriate, including the provision of mobile noise barriers and installation of the acoustic wool within the works site.
(2) and (3) In order to meet the demand of the public and the Kwun Tong and Sai Kung District Councils (DCs) on Bus-Bus Interchange (BBI) at TKO-LTT and the connection facilities with the existing bus stop at the EHC Toll Plaza, CEDD has proposed constructing the TKO-LTT BBI and the relevant connection facilities. The proposed BBI and the connection facilities will be located at the tunnel portal at Lam Tin near the existing Administration Building of EHC. The proposed BBI and connection facilities are targeted to be completed and commissioned together with TKO-LTT in 2021.
     As regards the ancillary facilities for use by passengers at the two aforesaid bus interchange/stop, the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited (KMB) plans to provide suitable ancillary facilities at these two locations. Such ancillary facilities may include display panels for real-time bus arrival information, seats, customer service kiosks, free Wi-Fi service, route enquiry service, automatic vending machines and Octopus card value-adding services, etc. KMB will submit detailed plans for individual enhancement projects to the Transport Department (TD). Government departments will follow up with KMB on the implementation details and engage the DCs. 
     The Government and franchised bus companies will continue to work together, having regard to the feasibility and cost-effectiveness, for improving the facilities at bus stops (including bus interchanges) across the territory.
     On franchised bus services, TD and franchised bus companies have been reviewing and adjusting franchised bus services for various districts through Route Planning Programmes (RPPs) every year. TD and franchised bus companies will draw reference to the department's "Guidelines on Service Improvement and Reduction in Bus Route Planning Programme" when assessing the RPPs, and implement them after consultation with the DCs. TD will continue to closely monitor the passenger demand for franchised bus services across EHC and serving Tseung Kwan O, and will work with franchised bus companies to consider adjusting the inter-district bus services for Tseung Kwan O in a timely manner before the commissioning of TKO-LTT. We will follow up with the DCs under the aforesaid established mechanisms by then.
(4) The distance between Yau Tong MTR Station and the bus interchange at the tunnel portal of EHC is around 550 metres, and a walk takes approximately seven to eight minutes. There is currently no directional sign along that walking route. TD is arranging for the provision of directional signs along Yau Tong Road and Cha Kwo Ling Road to give pedestrians directions to the bus interchange.
(5) TD has commenced a study on the overall strategy for the rationalisation of traffic distribution among the three road harbour crossings (i.e. Cross Harbour Tunnel, EHC and Western Harbour Crossing) and the three tunnels between Kowloon and Sha Tin (i.e. Tate's Cairn Tunnel, Lion Rock Tunnel, and Eagle's Nest Tunnel and Sha Tin Heights Tunnel), and will submit toll adjustment options to the Legislative Council Panel on Transport within the 2017-18 legislative year for discussion.
Ends/Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:30
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