Hong Kong Island


---Victoria Harbour

---Pokfulam / Route 7
---Pokfulam / Sandy Bay

---Aberdeen Harbour


- Lantau North
---Macau Bridge
---Lantau East - Route 10

- Lantau South
---Hei Ling Chau Prison

New Territories

---Sham Tseng
(Castle Peak Road)

---Shekou Bridge

---Tseung Kwan O
(formerly Junk Bay - proposed Western Coast Road)

Lamma Island
--- Yung Shue Wan

--- Kai Tak Redevelopment


Pokfulam - Route 7

January 2004

SOS Update

Route 7 - Kennedy Town to Aberdeen

From the Government

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.

In 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 your reference

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Cheung
for Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands (Planning and Lands)

SOS conclusion

(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 assessed.

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 7 highway


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 Tang.

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 infrastructure.

"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 billion.

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," he said.

Copyright © 2003. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.