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LCQ9 : Measures taken to minimise disturbances caused by road openings along Nathan Road

Following is a question by the Hon Eric Li Ka-cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, at the Legislative Council meeting today (December 18) :

Question:

Regarding the road excavation works on the pavements along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui district which were in progress in the first ten months of this year, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the total number of road sections involved in these works;

(b) the respective numbers of days within this period on which

(i) no excavation work was carried out; and

(ii)more than five works items were carried out at the same time;

(c) the largest number of works items carried out at the same time on a single day; and

(d) the measures it has put in place to minimise the inconvenience caused by these works to the businesses and pedestrians?

Reply:

Madam President,

The roads in Hong Kong serve dual purposes. They provide passageway for vehicular and pedestrian traffic as well as underground space for accommodating utility services and underground railway or subway systems. From time to time, underground utility services would require repair and upgrading. Underground railways/subway systems might require expansion and modifications to keep up with the rapid pace of the development in the territory. Road openings would be required to facilitate these works.

(a) For the section of Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), there were 97 road openings for the period from January to October 2002, amongst which about 81% were conducted by utility operators, Mass Transit Railway Corporation Limited (MTRCL) and Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), and about 19% were road maintenance works.

(b) According to our records, there were more than 5 road openings carried out on each day of the 10 months period along this 2.5 km road section of Nathan Road.

(c) On the busiest day, eight excavations were taking place at the same time - six of which were related to MTRCL's TST Station Modification works and KCRC's East Rail Station works and the remaining two were utility excavations.

(d) The following measures have been taken to minimise impacts on the public -

(i) A consultancy study was conducted by Transport Department (TD) in December 2001 to explore ways to tackle possible traffic problems in TST caused by the roadworks. A series of temporary traffic management schemes have been recommended and implemented which include the implementation of the Peking Road Gyratory System, widening of Salisbury Road and rationalisation of bus stops, etc.;

(ii) In order to improve the co-ordination and control of road opening works and to reduce disturbance to the TST area, all major proposed works which require traffic diversion arrangements have to be scrutinised by a Traffic Steering Group and the Traffic Monitoring Group chaired by TD to ensure that they are genuinely needed and properly planned;

(iii) During the construction stage, all proposed works have to be discussed at the Site Liaison Group with members from Police, TD, Highways Department (HyD), District Office (DO), KCRC and MTRCL. Appropriate conditions, such as restriction on working hours, minimum footpath width etc, would be specified in order to minimise the disturbance;

(iv) The Yau Tsim Mong District Council, shop operators and hoteliers have been kept informed of the road works and the associated traffic management measures. Site visits have been made and information leaflets have been distributed to locals. In addition, regular meetings have been conducted with the hoteliers;

(v) More signages and route maps have been put on the hoardings to direct pedestrians, in particular tourists, to their destinations with least inconvenience. TD is also in the process of improving the pedestrian directional signages including the provision of clearer and better quality map type signs in the area;

(vi) HyD has implemented the following measures to further reduce the disturbance to the public :

(1) request the utility operators or contractors to deck over excavated trenches outside working hours in order to maintain access for pedestrians;

(2) request the utility operators or contractors to carry out excavation work outside peak hours to minimise obstruction to pedestrians flow;

(3) re-route excavation trenches to other less busy footpath wherever possible; and

(4) request different utility operators and contractors to better coordinate their works at the same location to avoid repetitive excavation; and

(vii) Relevant government departments including HyD, TD and Environment Protection Department have been keeping a close watch on the contractors' performance of site housekeeping. All contractors are required to comply with the legislative requirements to maintain the required noise restriction and air quality standards.

Apart from the above, the Government is enacting the Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Bill 2002, which inter alia, aims to set up a system to charge economic cost on road works promoters and contractors for delays in completion of their works in order to encourage timely completion of road excavation works.

End/Wednesday, December 18, 2002

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