Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(1) 1290
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration.)


Panel on Transport and
Panel on Planning, Lands and Works

Minutes of joint meeting held on Friday, 13 March 1998, at 8:00 am in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

Panel on Transport

Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP (Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
* Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Henry WU
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon LAU Kong-wah
* Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
* Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

Panel on Planning, Lands and Works

* Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP (Chairman)
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying. JP
Hon IP Kwok-him

Members absent :

Panel on Transport

Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
* Hon YUEN Mo
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
* Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok

Panel on Planning, Lands and Works

Hon KAN Fook-yee (Deputy Chairman)
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting

(* also members of the Planning, Lands and Works Panel)

Public officers attending :

Mr Kevin HO, JP
Deputy Secretary for Transport

Director of Highways

Mr John CHAI
Assistant Director (Major Works)

Mr LAU Sing
District Planning Officer/Kowloon

Mr Thomas THUMB
Government Engineer/Port & Airport Development

Clerk in attendance :

Ms Estella CHAN,
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)4

Staff in attendance :

Ms Connie SZE-TO,
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)1

I Election of Chairman

Proposed by Mr Edward HO and seconded by Mr Henry WU, Mrs Miriam LAU was elected Chairman for the joint meeting.

II Central Kowloon Route
(PLC Paper Nos. CB(1) 1103(01), (02) and (03))

2 The Chairman explained that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Administration's proposal of building a dual two-lane tunnel for the Central Kowloon Route (CKR) comprising a side-by-side tunnel route north of the Gascoigne Road flyover in the west and a double deck tunnel in To Kwa Wan in the east. Members noted that the proposal was recommended for the endorsement of the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSC) under project 582TH. But at the PWSC meeting on 17 February 1998, some members questioned why a more desirable dual three-lane tunnel option had not been adopted and requested the Administration to provide further information on options for building the tunnel.

3 In explaining the present dual two-lane proposal (Figure 1), the Director of Highways (DHy) stressed that the Administration had evaluated over 30 route options across the Kowloon Peninsula and confirmed that the recommended alignment for the route was the best option involving minimal demolition and rehousing and taking into consideration connection opportunities with the existing and planned road networks, geotechnical conditions, land clearance, traffic impacts and implementation costs and risks. For instance, the present proposal would only require demolition of four Government buildings on the western end and rehousing of about 750 residents in the eastern end.

4. Responding to a member's enquiry, DHy advised that the recommended two-lane tunnel would be constructed using the shallow cut and cover technique. In order to avoid affecting the foundations of buildings in the vicinity and prevent building settlement, diaphragm walling technique would be used to construct the wall of the tunnel box. Even so, there would only be two to three metres between the tunnel walls and balconies of buildings. Such a distance was similar to that between some existing underground MTR station walls and nearby buildings and construction work was proved successful. DHy added that the Administration had indeed examined a double deck three-lane option for the CKR but had not adopted it due to anticipated problems as explained in the information paper.

Dual-three shallow cut and cover tunnel

5. In reply to members' enquiries, DHy explained that under the dual-three shallow cut and cover tunnel option, apart from modification and additional works on the Sham Shui Po interchange at the western side to facilitate connection with the CKR, the impact on the foundation of Gascoigne Road flyover would be greater as more room was required to accommodate the wider dual-three tunnel box. Moreover, two more buildings would have to be demolished on the western end. More serious problems were anticipated at the eastern end where a large number of buildings would have to be demolished and a preliminary estimation indicated that some 3,000 to 4,000 residents would be affected.

Dual-three deep tunnel options

6. Members noted that under the "medium depth" tunnel option, the tunnel would be constructed in the mixed ground which might lead to pavement/building settlement during construction and would require substantial foundation strengthening/replacement works. It was assessed that some 81 buildings could be affected and the estimated cost of these works alone would be about $6 billion which was more than the estimated construction cost for the CKR. A member remarked that it was prudent to consider the cost implication of this option.

7. Members noted the Administration's explanation that under the "very deep" tunnel option, the tunnel would have to travel a much longer distance than the recommended dual-two tunnel option to rise back up to the ground level on the eastern end; and as a result, the tunnel portal would not be technically feasible to connect with the proposed road network in the desired location in the South East Kowloon Development (SEKD). As to the feasibility of modifying the design of the CKR to make a big loop and re-join the SEKD road network at the desired location, DHy responded that this would sterilise much land and might entail changes in the planned land uses under the completed sub-regional planning and feasibility studies conducted for South East Kowloon. The District Planning Officer/Kowloon explained that under the Feasibility Study for the South East Kowloon Development to be completed very soon, the CKR was assumed a dual-two lane trunk road to be connected to planned road networks on the eastern side linking SEKD to North East New Territories and Tseung Kwan O. The proposed connection location was the most desirable one, facilitating linkages with various road systems. Modifying the design would have far-reaching implications on regional land-use planning and transport networks.

Other concerns

8. On a member's enquiry about whether fees would be charged for using the CKR, the Deputy Secretary for Transport (DS/T) stressed that the Administration had not yet taken a decision on the matter. DHy supplemented that there would be space available for building a toll plaza at the eastern end of the tunnel portal for the shallow cut and cover option, but not for the other two tunnelling options.

9. Having noted the serious traffic disruption in Central District caused by the construction of the Airport Railway, some members expressed concern about the adverse impacts on the traffic and the environment in the vicinity during the implementation of the CKR and urged the Administration to improve on the arrangements. In response, DHy advised that the proposed consultant study for the project would assess the impacts associated with implementation of the project and recommend necessary mitigation measures. There should be ways and means to reduce the impact of construction on existing traffic bearing in mind similar problems had been dealt with for construction works at the very busy Central District.

10. Regarding a member's concern that the provision of the CKR might delay Administration's consideration of the need to provide the East Kowloon Railway Line, DS/T assured members that there would be no conflict in their provision because the two projects had been examined in different contexts.

III Any other business

11. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 8:50 am.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
1 May 1998