Half-completed roads, flyover stubs and “bridges to nowhere”, some abandoned back in the 1980s, show the need for a complete overhaul of government traffic planning mechanisms and transparency, the Ombudsman recommended in an investigation published today.
There are 29 deserted flyover sections or stub ends across Hong Kong, all idle for more than a decade and some for over 30 years. Ombudsman Winnie Chu said while there was nothing wrong with the stubs per se, they indicated failures in government planning.
Chu recommended a new mechanism to review road development, which would be led by cross-departmental task forces, and include local District Councils “where warranted”.
Chu also recommended a better platform for public information: right now, it’s difficult for the public to find information about road works in their neighbourhood. “When a road work is a joint-department endeavour, it is even more difficult for the public to know which department they should turn to for the latest information,” she said.
“Traffic infrastructure is closely related to our daily life. To enhance transparency of information, the Government should consider setting up an integrated information platform to facilitate public enquiry of the latest information and status of the various major road works proposed for different districts, so that the public can better understand the planning and progress of the proposed road works.”
However, the Ombudsman also sees such a platform as very much a one-way street, in terms of dialogue. “We hope that the information platform can enhance public understanding of the Government’s planning direction and policies in respect of major road works,” said Chu.
She also recommended the government step up its lobbying efforts to better persuade residents and “gain public support for constructing the new road network.”