Central reclamation extent already the minimum

In response to media enquiries on a press report about a second consultant's report on the feasibility of building the Central - Wan Chai Bypass (CWB) in the form of an immersed tube tunnel, a spokesman for the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau today (February 25) gives the following reply:

"The Government has engaged a consultant to conduct a technical assessment on Save Our Shorelines (SOS)'s immersed tube tunnel option for the section of the CWB within the Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII) area upon its rezoning request submission to the Town Planning Board (TPB).

Findings of the technical assessment have indicated that the immersed tube tunnel is not a practically feasible alternative for the CWB within the CRIII area taking into account project requirements and specific constraints on site.

An independent consultant has been engaged to undertake an assessment on the report of the above technical assessment. The third-party assessment is still ongoing, and the results, when completed, together with the first assessment report will be submitted to the TPB for consideration as part of the process of examining the rezoning request submitted by SOS. It is pre-mature at this stage to speculate on the conclusion of the third-party assessment, which has yet to be completed.

We reiterate that findings of the comprehensive review of CRIII completed in April 2004 have already demonstrated that the immersed tube tunnel option is not a reasonable alternative. The same review concluded that the CRIII meets the Court of Final Appeal's 'overriding public need test' and that the extent of reclamation is the minimum required for the construction of essential transport infrastructure and the reprovisioning of facilities including pump houses, public piers and landing steps along the existing waterfront. The CRIII works are now underway."

Ends/Friday, February 25, 2005