Following is a question by the Ir Dr Hon Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for the Environment, Transport & Works, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (July 3):
Question: Regarding the installation of traffic signs on expressways and trunk roads, will the Government inform this Council whether it will:
(a) light up such traffic signs so that motorists can see them clearly at night; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(b) enlarge the size of speed limit signs; and
(c) install directional traffic signs way ahead of the entry and exit of each expressway and trunk road, so that drivers may choose the lanes in advance?
In accordance with the Transport Planning and Design Manual (TPDM) issued by Transport Department, all gantry signs, and all roadside Final Advance Direction Signs (FADS) and Advance Direction Signs (ADS) on major roads are required to be directly illuminated by associated lighting facilities. To ensure that the above-mentioned signs comply with the aforesaid requirements and that the level of illumination is adequate for motorists to read from a distance at night-time, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) conducted a territory-wide survey in 2001. Based on the survey results, EMSD is now making remedial works.
As for other regulatory and warning traffic signs, the current use of standard retro-reflective material without illumination is largely satisfactory and in line with the practice of most advanced countries. Moreover, the mounting height of such traffic signs will not be higher than 2.3 metres from the ground, hence they could adequately be read from a distance through reflection by the vehicles' headlamps.
For speed limit signs, as motorists are well familiar with the metric system that has been used in Hong Kong for over 10 years, we have, since 2000, removed the lettering "km/h" to enable larger speed limit numerals to be shown on the sign face so that motorists may read the signs from a further distance.
In accordance with the TPDM, three directional signs including Directional Signs (DS), FADS and ADS should be provided at all junctions along trunk roads, expressways, primary distributor roads and main rural roads. The DS is provided at or close to the diverging point, the FADS at the start of the deceleration lane or 200 to 300 metres before the diverge, and the ADS 500 metres before the start of the deceleration lane, or 500 metres in advance of the FADS. While the existing practice provides good guidance to motorists, we will continue to review our standards with a view to making improvements. In this respect, we are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of directional signing on all roads in the territory, which is expected to be completed by September 2002.
We also plan to introduce new traffic signs with exit numbers to assist motorists in choosing correct exits on expressways to their destinations. A trial of the numbering system is being set up on Route 3 between Au Tau and Western Harbour Crossing for evaluation in 12 months. If the result is satisfactory, we will extend the system to all expressways in the territory.
End/Wednesday, 3 July 2002