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LCQ14: Transport development of Tung Chung
     Following is a question by the Hon Holden Chow and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (May 31):
     Reclamation works for the Tung Chung New Town Extension will commence at the end of this year. Upon completion, the project will provide 49 400 residential flats for accommodating about 144 400 residents, with the first population intake projected for 2023. To cope with the additional traffic demand, the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) is going to build the Tung Chung East (TCE) Station along the Tung Chung Line, but it is expected that the relevant works will not be completed until 2026. During the three-year transitional period, TCE residents have to take shuttle buses to Tung Chung MTR station in order to change for the MTR Tung Chung Line. Moreover, as there are several developments (e.g. the Topside Development at the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, North Commercial District on the Airport Island and Sunny Bay development) being or soon to be undertaken in North Lantau, the working population involved will inevitably aggravate the traffic load in Tung Chung district. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether the authorities will ask MTRCL to expeditiously commence the relevant works on Tung Chung Line, so that the works can be completed before the first population intake in TCE;
(2) whether it has studied jointly with the Airport Authority the feasibility of building an environment-friendly, efficient and quiet elevated monorail system with high carrying capacity to connect Tung Chung Town Centre with the Airport Island; if so, of the findings; and
(3) given that the Airport Express is the only mass transit carrier commuting to and from the Airport Island at present, whether the Government has studied extending the Tung Chung Line to the Airport Island to cater for the increasing traffic demand; if so, of the findings?
     My reply to the various parts of the Hon Holden Chow's question is as follows:
(1) The Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) announced the Railway Development Strategy 2014 (RDS-2014) in September 2014. Having regard to transport demand, cost-effectiveness and the development needs of New Development Areas and other new development projects, the RDS-2014 recommends that seven new railway projects be completed in the planning horizon up to 2031, including the Tung Chung West Extension. We also indicated in the RDS-2014 that the Planning Department (PlanD) and the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) were jointly conducting the "Planning and Engineering Study on the Remaining Development in Tung Chung – Feasibility Study" at that juncture. The relevant study, which was completed in 2016, proposed the addition of a Tung Chung East railway station to tie in with the developments of Tung Chung East.
     Having regard to the indicative implementation window recommended in the RDS-2014, the Government invited the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) in early January 2017 to submit a proposal of the Tung Chung West Extension (and Tung Chung East Station) with a view to implementing the railway project. The MTRCL needs time to conduct relevant technical studies. Upon receipt of the proposal submitted by the MTRCL, the THB, the Highways Department and relevant government departments will evaluate the proposal.
     In line with established procedures, prior to the finalisation of the railway scheme of the Tung Chung West Extension (and Tung Chung East Station), we will consult the public on the detailed alignment, locations of stations, mode of implementation, cost estimate, mode of financing and actual implementation timetable, etc.
(2) and (3) We take note of the requests from the local community for the provision of linkage by railway or other means between Tung Chung and the Airport Island. The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) embarked on a consultancy study in June 2016 to explore the technical feasibility, financial viability and operation strategy for providing rail shuttle service between the future Tung Chung East Station and the Airport Island using the spare capacity of the existing Airport Express Line tracks. AAHK has completed the above preliminary study and just submitted a report to the THB this month. We are reviewing the relevant preliminary study report to assess whether AAHK's recommended scheme is practically feasible, as well as how the matter should be taken forward.
     Furthermore, "The Planning, Engineering and Architectural Study for Topside Development at Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF) Island of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge" jointly commissioned by CEDD and PlanD is in progress. It will review different transport connectivity proposals for the HKBCF Island, North Lantau and the Airport Island, including the light rail system suggested by members of the Legislative Council and the public. The study will examine the technical feasibility, financial viability and operational arrangement of such proposals. It is expected to complete by the end of this year.
Ends/Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:30
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