LegCo Panel on Transport
Arrangements for the Use of Tung Chung Road, Lantau Island
Arising from a letter to the LegCo Panel on Transport from Mr Serge Berthier objecting to the prohibition of private cars from using Tung Chung Road, the Panel has asked the Administration for a response to the points raised.
2.This paper presents the present situation and the revised arrangements for Tung Chung Road upon the opening of Lantau Link on 22 May 1997.
3. Tung Chung Road is a village road of 3.5m wide catering for two-way traffic. There is no footpath on most sections. The road has sharp bends and steep gradients in excess of 1 in 6. There are 33 passing places along its 8km length spaced 150 to 320m apart, which can accommodate 1 to 2 vehicles at a time. The maximum two-way traffic capacity of the road is estimated at 100 vehicles/hour. It takes about 20 minutes to complete a trip along this road.
4. Prior to 1991, no prohibition was imposed on this road as traffic was light. In view of a number of development projects in North Lantau which would increase the traffic flow on Tung Chung Road, in 1991, for safety reasons, a 24-hour prohibition was imposed on all goods vehicles. Other motor vehicles (except franchised buses, taxis and other vehicles with valid prohibited zone permits) were prohibited from entry during 7:00am - 7:00pm. The Islands District Board was consulted prior to implementation.
5. At present, the average daily traffic flow on this road is about 300 vehicles. Although the traffic is light, there were 5 accidents in 1994-96. Of these 5 accidents, 3 involved head-on collisions and 2 involved vehicles hitting pedestrians. All these accidents occurred in the daytime between 9:00am to 6:00pm and one took place on a wet dull day with a vehicle losing control and colliding with the opposite vehicle.
6. The past accident statistics confirm that two-way operation on a single lane track with excessively steep gradients, sharp bends and poor sightlines is potentially dangerous. Even if street lighting is installed on this road shortly, the visibility along this road at night would be far inferior to that in the daytime in view of the rural environment. Drivers perception to the sub-standard road condition and any hazardous object or feature thereon would be imperfect and could be difficult in case of inclement weather. Old vehicles would have high risks of losing control on such exceptionally steep sections and at sharp bends, especially at night time. The accident potential of this road will increase with the anticipated higher demand following the opening of the Lantau Link and the New Airport.
7. Vehicles intending to use Tung Chung Road are subject to a Prohibited Zone Permit arrangement as mentioned in paragraph 4. Details are as follows -
- Goods vehicles : 24 hours entry prohibition, i.e. goods vehicles need to hold permits for using this road at all times.
- Franchised buses and taxis : can use the road at all times.
- Other vehicles -
- require permit for using the road in the daytime (7:00am - 7:00pm). Permits are issued to residents on Tung Chung Road. For others, a business or operational need has to be established. Journeys from home to place of work will not be acceptable.
- can use the road at night time (7:00pm - 7:00am).
8. Upon opening of Lantau Link, traffic on Tung Chung Road after 7:00pm is expected to increase compared with the present situation, because -
- more South Lantau road users will use the road for access to Tung Chung New Town and other parts of the territory;
- there will be more bus and taxi traffic to cope with the greater demand of tourists.
Accordingly, there is a need to regulate traffic on this road and to enhance the traffic management by extending the existing 7:00am - 7:00pm prohibitions to 24 hours so as to promote road safety and efficient public transport operations on this road.
9. Transport Department has had lengthy discussions with the Islands District Board and a Working Group was set up to examine the issue. Agreement was finally reached with the Islands District Board on 28 April 1997 on the following revised arrangements -
- The prohibited zone area of Tung Chung Road is to be reduced - the section of Tung Chung Road north of Shek Mun Kap which is a less hilly area will be excluded from the prohibited zone. The current permit holders living in this area can therefore have free access between their residence and north Lantau. However, if they travel southwards via Tung Chung Road, they would need to apply for a prohibited zone permit. About 80 existing permits have been issued to people living on that section of the Tung Chung Road which is north of Shek Mun Kap.
- A 24-hour prohibition is to be introduced for the reduced prohibited zone. All vehicles, except franchise buses and taxis, will need permits to travel along Tung Chung Road, south of Shek Mun Kap.
- There are about 400 current permit holders. Renewal of permits upon expiry of the current ones will be subject to meeting the criteria set out in the Appendix.
- In addition to (c), 50 permits will be issued to South Lantau residents who do not currently hold any permit subject to meeting the criteria in the Appendix.
It was also agreed that the revised arrangements will be reviewed in three months.
Other Views Considered
10. Some interest groups have been pressing for maintaining the current 7:00am - 7:00pm prohibition thereby allowing free access from 7:00pm to 7:00am. Local Lantau residents have also pushed for fully opening up Tung Chung Road on the ground that they would prefer to rely on their own driving skill than that of drivers of public vehicles. Transport Department has studied the views and considers that in view of anticipated increase in traffic along Tung Chung Road and for the reasons given in paragraph 6, the proposals cannot be supported.
Improvement of Tung Chung Road
11. The feasibility study of widening this road is in progress and scheduled to be completed in September 1997. The Islands District Board will be consulted in due course and the permit system will be reviewed.
12. Following the general endorsement of the revised arrangements by the Islands District Board on 28 April 1997, Transport Department made a public announcement at the Appendix on 5 May 1997.
Last Updated on 21 August 1998