- Route 7
Route 7 - Kennedy Town to Aberdeen
Thank you for your letter of 16 January 2004
to the Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands
(Planning and Lands). Mrs. Carrie Lam has asked me to reply
on her behalf.
Route 7 is a strategic link linking the Cross Harbour Tunnel,
Western Harbour Crossing and the Central and Western District
with the development areas in the south-west of the Hong Kong
Island. Its sections from Cross Harbour Tunnel to Kennedy
Town were completed.
The Government is looking into the
possibility of adopting a landward alignment of Route 7 to
preserve the existing natural coastline along the western
shore of Mount Davis and also to take into account that there
is no reclamation in Western District. The Planning of Route
7 will be kept under review.
October last year, the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau
submitted a paper entitled "Route 7, South Hong Kong
Island Line and West Hong Kong Island Line" to the Legislative
Council Panel on Transport for discussion. The paper covers
the latest progress of the three projects as spelt out in
its title. I have herewith enclosed a copy of the paper for
for Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands (Planning
(Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Conservation Photography Foundation)
SOS is working on the assumption that the
Route 7 is NOT going to proceed, but it IS still on the books
as a possible project. The key factor is the MTRC's proposal
for a South Rail link to Aberdeen and the fact that the government
has no funds to build it. The government has given MTRC the
chance to come up with a workable rail scheme as an alternative
to the road, as SOS had requested two years ago. Earlier this
year the initial proposals were rejected as being too expensive
and MTRC are currently revising them. We don't have the exact
dates for resubmission or details of the MTRC's proposed plans
just now as these are still in development.
Officially the road is still 'live' and it will be appearing
on documents that will be issued by the Planning Department
shortly to illustrate recent cut-backs in reclamation plans
for Western District. This is because Planning Department
can't remove the road from their plans until it has been pronounced
officially dead by Transport Department. Transport Department
won't do this until the MTRC scheme is completed and can be
When the Planning Department documents are published SOS
will need to raise a complaint and request that an official
comment on the status of R7 be given. Hoppefully at that time
we can finally lay this road to rest. In the meantime it is
still lurking in the background, COULD be revived, but looks
less and less likely as time goes by.
John Bowden - SOS Chairman
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
MTRC gets approval for proposed rail loop
After the rail project is given the green light, questions
will be raised about the future of the controversial Route
DENISE TSANG and CHEUNG CHI-FAI
The government has finally given the green light to the
MTRC's proposed loop rail line in southern Hong Kong Island.
The Executive Council decided yesterday to proceed with further
planning on the $10 billion South Island Link, which would
possibly be a light rail track.
In tandem with this, the first phase of a rail extension
called the West Island link, between Sheung Wan and the Belchers
estate, will also be pursued. But a proposed North Island
line extension was deferred until beyond 2016.
The decision to go ahead with the rail proposal for the south
and west of Hong Kong Island raises questions on the proposed
Route 7 highway, linking Kennedy Town and Aberdeen.
Environmentalists welcomed the news and said a rail link
was preferable to the highway, which would cause much more
damage to the coastline.
The government also will spend $50 million on Pokfulam Road
to ease traffic in the medium term.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary for Environment, Transport
and Works, Paul Tang Kwok-wai, said there was no timetable
for the southern route and it was too early to say if the
government would finance the project. It has been reported
that the Mass Transit Railway Corporation is seeking a $4
billion subsidy from the government towards the cost of the
South Island line.
"We hope the study can be finished in a year before
we decide how to go ahead with the project and how it could
link up with the western extension of the MTR line and complement
tourism development in Southern [Hong Kong]," said Mr
Rail proponents said the project would preserve the coastline,
minimise government spending and boost the value of Cyberport
- with a stop at the technology and property development providing
a much-needed transport link.
The MTRC welcomed the approval of the rail projects. Spokeswoman
Maggie So said: "We will start discussions with the government
right away on a detailed feasibility study on the rail projects.
"We will look into the alignment of the rail lines,
what form of rail should be built, what type of technology
should be chosen and the estimated costs."
The company submitted a preliminary plan on the South Island
line last July.
Bill Barron, an associate professor at the Centre of Urban
Planning and Environment Management at Hong Kong University,
welcomed the proposal.
"It is encouraging as the government recognises the
need to continue to invest in infrastructure, especially rail
"Rail is a very important part of a transport system
if the system is to be sustainable."
Mr Barron also pointed out that tax payers' money would be
saved as Route 7 was estimated to cost $10 billion and the
MTRC was reportedly seeking only $4 billion from the government.
The government estimated that the first phase of the West
Island rail link would cost $5 billion. It is estimated that
the second leg, an extension to Kennedy Town, will cost $6
Democratic lawmaker Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said his party would
not support the deferral of the northern extension unless
the government could provide more data on population change.
Lau Kong-wah, of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of
Hong Kong, said the Southern Island link should not go ahead
unless it was affordable to the public.
"If it is too expensive, there is no need to build the
line as the travelling public will have to pay high fares,"
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