In response to media enquiries on Save Our Shorelines' (SOS) alternative plan of Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII), a Government spokesman said today (September 1):
"In the course of the further comprehensive review of CRIII against the 'overriding public need test' in compliance with the Court of Final Appeal (CFA)'s rulings, the Government has examined different tunnel options for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB), including the immersed tunnel option as proposed by SOS.
The findings demonstrated that the option was full of problems and was not a reasonable alternative. Details of our findings are included in Chapter 2 of the review report published in April 2004, and can be found in the Government website at www.hplb.gov.hk/cr3
The findings demonstrate that CRIII meets the CFA's test and that the extent of reclamation is the minimum required. They were endorsed and supported by various independent experts in the transport and planning fields and were distributed to the Legislative Council Members.
To recap, an immersed tube tunnel at seabed level as proposed by SOS is not a reasonable alternative as it would clash with the existing MTR Tsuen Wan Line Tunnel west of HKCEC Extension.
To avoid this, the CWB tunnel would have to pass over the MTR tunnel and be supported on pile foundation. Part of the CWB tunnel structure would then be above sea water level. Tunnel protective measures would be required to protect the structure from an aggressive marine transport environment and wave action. That means additional reclamation would be required to build a physical barrier in order to protect the tunnel against impact from marine vessels.
Another major downside of SOS's proposal is that section of the proposed tunnel between Edinburgh Place and Tim Wa Avenue would require additional dredging which would affect the stability of the existing seawall.
The Road P2 network is a dual-2 lane surface road system which will be built on land formed for the CWB tunnel. Therefore, no additional reclamation is required. The network comprises new roads linking up and enhancing the existing road network in Central and Wan Chai, aiming to divert the traffic from the Hong Kong Station and One and Two International Financial Centre to Wan Chai North without going through the already saturated Connaught Road Central.
We must reiterate that the allegation that the Road P2 network would block the accessibility of the public to the harbour is totally groundless.
A series of grade-separated north-south pedestrian corridors have been planned to provide easy linkages from the hinterland to the new waterfront. These corridors will facilitate pedestrian movement to the new harbourfront in Central. We envisage that they will become 'view corridors' of excellent quality.
Victoria Harbour is our important natural asset. We are committed to 'bringing the Harbour to the people'. In consultation with the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee, other relevant bodies and members of the community, we will strive to ensure that the reclaimed land be used for good urban planning."
Ends/Wednesday, September 1, 2004