Property projects to push highway into gridlock: government has lost the plot

Every Sai Kung resident knows Hiram’s Highway is to be widened in stages — at glacial pace — but few know the detail.  Have a close look at these maps

Just one of the new developments soon to be completed close to town. It will have 79 blocks and 769 flats with 620 car park spaces
Just one of the new developments soon to be completed close to town. It will have 79 blocks and 769 flats with 620 car park spaces

With eight major property projects in Sai Kung due for completion in the next few years, Hiram’s Highway will become gridlocked with the cars of new residents and visitors.

Stage One of the highway’s widening to four lanes is not due for completion until 2020.  By then all these developments will have been finished, bringing new traffic: Sino Land, two projects at Sha Kok Mei and near the Fire Station; New World, three projects at Tai Po Tsai, Sha Ha and the “golf academy”; 500-room hotel opposite the Academy; a project next to the Beach Hotel; and the major hotel on the paint factory site.

Transport expert Gordon Neilson said the Transport Department may not have done joined-up thinking. “Each of the developments will have had to submit a Traffic Impact Assessment to the Transport Department.” But he thinks it possible that the department will have agreed to individual developments without assessing the cumulative effect of them all.

“As is often the case, one development is OK, but the cumulative impact of many such developments causes traffic demand to exceed road capacity,” Gordon said.

The Stage One construction of Hiram’s Highway widening won’t start until next year. “Tender documents are being prepared,” the HD website says. So make that late next year.When completed in 2020, maybe, Stage One will move the traffic jams from Ho Chung to Marina Cove.

On the HD website there is zero about Stage Two, (which will move the traffic jams to Sha Ha).  Zero.  No cost of project, no start date. Just this: “Preliminary design and investigation works are in progress.”

The rich will have to invest in helicopters, the rest of us in hiking boots.

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