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LCQ2: North Lantau traffic situation
     Following is a question by the Hon Holden Chow and a reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, in the Legislative Council today (January 17):

     Some residents of Tung Chung have relayed to me that due to the completion of quite a number of infrastructure projects and the continuous population growth in North Lantau in recent years, the vehicular flow of Tung Chung has risen continuously and there have been frequent traffic congestions. In addition, the external road traffic of North Lantau will be paralysed whenever a traffic accident happens on the Tsing Ma Bridge. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the respective vehicular flows of and numbers of traffic accidents which happened on North Lantau Highway as well as Tat Tung Road and Shun Tung Road in Tung Chung in each of the past five years, and whether there has been an upward trend in such figures;

(2) of the respective percentages, as projected by the authorities, of vehicular flows of North Lantau Highway and the major roads in Tung Chung in their design capacities in each of the coming five years, and whether the vehicular flows will reach saturation; if so, of the authorities' measures to deal with the situation; and

(3) whether the authorities will implement within the coming five years traffic management measures and plans for expanding the traffic network to alleviate the traffic load of the road network in North Lantau?



     My reply to the various parts of the Hon Holden Chow's question is consolidated as follows:

(1) At present, the main external land transport links for Lantau Island are by Lantau Link and North Lantau Highway, while the roads linking up Tung Chung Town Centre are mainly Tat Tung Road and Shun Tung Road, etc. The Transport Department (TD) has been closely monitoring the traffic situation of these roads.
     The peak hour traffic flow and design capacity of the Lantau Link, the section of North Lantau Highway between Tung Chung Eastern Interchange and Airport Road at Chek Lap Kok and Shun Tung Road between 2012 and 2016 are set out at Annex 1. Although there is an upward trend for the traffic flow of the above-mentioned roads, the traffic flow at peak hours has not yet reached the design capacity.

     As regards traffic accidents, the concerned figures for the Lantau Link, North Lantau Highway, Tat Tung Road and Shun Tung Road between 2012 and November 2017 are set out at Annex 2. Although traffic accident figures for the Lantau Link and North Lantau Highway have been on the rise over the past five years, the traffic accident rates for these two roads in 2016, which were respectively 0.2 and 0.31 cases per million vehicle kilometre, were lower than the territorial average of 1.18 cases in the corresponding period. Besides, the traffic accident figures for Tat Tung Road and Shun Tung Road remained generally stable for the past five years. The TD will closely monitor the locations of the traffic accidents and consider whether there could be common contributing factors, and, if necessary, take appropriate measures to enhance road safety.

(2) and (3) According to the observations of the TD, at present, traffic flow on the roads on Lantau Island is smooth in general.
     Upon completion, the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link (TM-CLKL) will provide a new strategic road linking up North West New Territories, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities, North Lantau and Hong Kong International Airport. The Highways Department (HyD) expects that the Southern Connection of TM-CLKL will be completed in the first half of 2019 at the earliest, and that the Northern Connection will be completed in 2020 at the earliest.

     According to the TD's forecast, the volume to capacity (v/c) ratio of North Lantau Highway (Siu Ho Wan Section) during peak hours in 2021 would be about 0.7 and that the traffic flow would not be saturated. As for Tat Tung Road and Shun Tung Road, which are District Distributor roads, the TD does not have an estimation of the v/c ratio of these two roads for the coming five years.

     At the present stage when the TM-CLKL is yet to be commissioned, any traffic accident on the Lantau Link or North Lantau Highway will have an impact on external road traffic in North Lantau. The TD has formulated contingency measures, including positioning a number of towing vehicles at suitable locations along the highways. In case a traffic incident has been spotted, staff will immediately be deployed to the incident scene to handle and promptly remove any vehicle that has caused obstruction on the road so that normal traffic flow could resume as quickly as possible. At the same time, the TD's Emergency Transport Co-ordination Centre (ETCC) will closely liaise with relevant government departments and public transport service operators in the light of the circumstances of the incident so as to arrange appropriate emergency services or service adjustments. The ETCC will notify the public of the latest development of the incident and traffic arrangements as soon as practicable via the media, the TD and the Airport Authority's mobile phone applications, variable message signs on nearby trunk roads and radio rebroadcast systems inside tunnels. The ETCC will also advise members of the public to plan their journeys early or change their routes or modes of commuting based on their locations and destinations so as to minimise the impact of the incident.

     With a number of large-scale developments planned for North Lantau in the future, including Tung Chung New Town Extension and top-side development at Mass Transit Railway Siu Ho Wan Depot, they will bring additional population and increase the corresponding traffic demand. When handling such projects, the Government will require project proponents to conduct traffic impact assessments and put forward mitigation proposals so as to ensure that the transport infrastructure in North Lantau could cope with the additional traffic flow brought by the new development projects.

     Currently, the Civil Engineering and Development Department is conducting the "Study on Traffic, Transport and Capacity to Receive Visitors for Lantau" to comprehensively examine the transport infrastructure and transport services on Lantau Island. The study will also cover ways to improve traffic within Lantau Island (such as improving the traffic network between Tung Chung Town Centre and Airport Island), put forward improvement proposals and formulate overall development strategies for the transport infrastructure network and transport services on Lantau Island. The above-mentioned consultancy study has commenced in July 2017 and will last 18 months for completion in early 2019.

     Furthermore, the Development Bureau and the Planning Department are undertaking the planning study "Hong Kong 2030+: Towards A Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030" (Hong Kong 2030+) to look into the longer term planning for Hong Kong. On the basis of the outcome of the Hong Kong 2030+ and its public engagement exercise, TD and HyD will conduct the "Strategic Studies on Railways and Major Roads beyond 2030" to comprehensively review the traffic demand of Hong Kong from 2031 up to 2041 or beyond, make recommendations on the required strategic transport infrastructure network in the future, and improve the performance of the current major transport corridors (including external transport corridors on Lantau Island) to cope with the additional traffic demand.

     Thank you, President.
Ends/Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:50
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