Lantau will see at least five new major road projects and a host of road widenings as part of a “fundamental change to Lantau’s function” according to government consultant Arup in its report on strategic traffic and transport infrastructure on Hong Kong’s largest island.
The Study on Traffic, Transport and Capacity to Receive Visitors for Lantau, published yesterday and five years in the making, recommends new road connections between Tung Chung and Tai O and between North Lantau and Mui Wo.
From a starting base of 10 road projects, the engineering consultant put forward five as “preferable” on environmental and economic grounds.
The chosen projects include:
- a 2km tunnel underpassing Lantau South Country Park through Keung Shan, with roads connecting Shek Pik and Tai O Road;
- two new bridges, about 350 metres each, across the sharp bends of the existing Keung Shan Road;
- a 5km tunnel underpassing the Lantau North Country Park, with a connecting road from Mui Wo to Siu Ho Wan;
- a 3.5km tunnel, and associated road, connecting Mui Wo with Discovery Bay; and
- upgrading Old Tung Chung Road between Pak Kung Au and Cheung Sha, a stretch of road currently closed and used for maintenance only.
Arup says all the proposals in its work are based on “desktop qualitative evaluation only” and says further feasibility study is required.
Other proposals less likely to proceed included a 10km “North Coastal Viaduct” connecting Tung Chung and Tai O; a tunnel connecting Tung Chung and Mui Wo directly; and a 7km tunnel from Tung Chung to Tai O.
Arup also considered new slip roads from the Hong Kong Link Road connecting Tai O with the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, but said this would require some changes to the “Closed Area” Ordinance and would infringe upon the Tai O Site of Archaeological Interest.
The Sustainable Lantau Office of Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) awarded Arup the study contract in 2017, with no disclosure on the contract value.
The firm was separately engaged to develop and design the road links between Hong Kong Island and Lantau for the government’s Lantau Tomorrow Vision artificial island project. In that case, embryonic plans became firm engineering proposals with little public consultation or discussion along the way.
But Arup says the latest report is in response to public engagement from January to April 2016 in which, it says, members of the public requested improvement of the internal connections on Lantau, such as between Tung Chung and Tai O; and between Mui Wo and North Lantau.
The report does not include cycling in its discussion of the strategic road network but does devote a separate section to mountain bike trails, proposing new mountain bike path “alignments” and connections between existing tracks.
CEDD’s new mountain bike park near Mui Wo has been generally welcomed by the community, although residents have also expressed environmental concerns.