on 25 November 1998
ITEM FOR PUBLIC WORKS SUBCOMMITTEE
OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 706 - HIGHWAYS
Transport - Roads
560TH - Improvement to Kam Tin Road, Stage 1
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee to upgrade 560TH to Category A at an estimated cost of $154.2 million in money-of-the-day prices for the implementation of stage 1 improvement works to Kam Tin Road.PROBLEM
The existing section of Kam Tin Road between Au Tau Roundabout and Kam Tin has insufficient capacity to cope with the current and future traffic demands.PROPOSAL
2. The Director of Highways, with the support of the Secretary for Transport, proposes to upgrade 560TH to Category A at an estimated cost of $154.2 million in money-of-the-day (MOD) prices for the improvement of the section of Kam Tin Road from Au Tau Roundabout to Kam Tin.PROJECT SCOPE AND NATURE
3. The works we now propose to upgrade to Category A comprise -
- widening of approximately 1.2 kilometres of the section of Kam Tin Road between Au Tau Roundabout and Kam Tin from a single 2-lane road to a dual 2-lane carriageway;
- construction of pedestrian and cyclists facilities, including a 2-metre wide footpath and a 3-metre wide cycle track on the north side and a 3.5-metre wide footpath on the south side of the widened Kam Tin Road;
- provisioning of noise barriers and indirect noise mitigation measures for affected village houses; and
- associated drainage, junction modification, lighting, watermains diversion, slope and landscaping works.
4.The existing Kam Tin Road between the Au Tau Roundabout and the Route Twisk junction is a 6.5-kilometre long single 2-lane carriageway with narrow footpaths along certain sections. It is a main route for east-west traffic movements through the central part of the New Territories. Given the rapid development in the eastern and western parts of the New Territories in recent years, the section of Kam Tin Road between the Au Tau Roundabout and Kam Tin has been operating beyond capacity. The commissioning of Route 3 (Country Park Section) in 1998 has brought a further 17% increase in the usage of the road during peak hours. The present volume to capacity (V/C) ratio of this road section has reached 1.28 during morning peak hours.
5. We anticipate that the expected increase in population and planned developments at Kam Tin and Au Tau together with the commissioning of future road networks associated with the West Rail scheme in 2003 will result in further traffic using this road section. Without the proposed widening of the existing road, motorists will suffer unreasonable traffic delays and congestion on this particular road section. We therefore need to widen Kam Tin Road to a dual 2-lane carriageway to meet the traffic demand up to 2011. The projected V/C ratios with and without the road improvements in 2001, 2003 and 2011 are indicated below -
|without improvements||1.69||1.86||above 2.0
6.There are many villages along this section of Kam Tin Road and the villagers commonly travel between villages both on bicycles and on foot. Because of this, we plan to provide a cycle track on the northern side of the widened Kam Tin Road to improve the safety of cyclists and we will construct footpaths on both sides of the new road to enhance the safety of pedestrians.
7. As a result of the proposed improvement works and the eventual increase in traffic flows, the residents along the widened carriageway will be exposed to noise levels higher than the upper limits stipulated in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines. We will install noise barriers along the road section in front of Ko Po Tsuen and Kam Fung Terrace for the direct mitigation of traffic noise. In addition, there are 33 dwelling units at Ko Po San Tsuen and Au Tau which will be subject to excessive traffic noise. Due to prevailing site conditions, it will be neither effective nor practical to reduce the noise levels by employing direct mitigation measures in the form of enclosures, roadside barriers or noise reducing surface materials. Consequently, we will provide indirect noise mitigation measures in the form of window insulation and air-conditioning to the affected households. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
8. We estimate the cost of the project to be $154.2 million in MOD prices (see paragraph 9 below), made up as follows -
|(a) Roadworks, drainage, and earthworks||89.4
|(b) Environmental mitigation measures||20.5
|(i) Noise barriers||19.3
|(ii) Indirect noise mitigation measures||1.2
|(c) Landscape works||6.2
||(at December 1997 prices)
|Total||154.2||(in MOD prices)
9. Subject to approval, we will phase the expenditure as follows -
|1999 - 2000||44.7||1.12890||50.5
|2000 - 2001||53.8||1.19663||64.4
|2001 - 2002||22.4||1.26843||28.4
|2002 - 2003||8.1||1.34454||10.9
10. We have derived the MOD estimate on the basis of the Government's latest forecast of trend labour and construction prices over the period 1999 to 2003. We will tender the works under a standard re-measurement contract because the extent of the foundation works for the noise barriers and the quantities of earthworks will depend on the actual site conditions. The contract will include adjustments to the tender price due to inflation because the contract period will be longer than 21 months.
11. We estimate the additional annually recurrent expenditure arising from the proposed works to be $1.6 million.PUBLIC CONSULTATION
12. We consulted the Kam Tin Rural Committee and the Traffic and Transport Committee of the then Yuen Long District Board (YLDB) on 1 March 1995 and 7 March 1995 respectively and received support for the proposed works. On 7 October 1998, we consulted the Environmental Improvement Committee of the Yuen Long Provisional District Board on the environmental and drainage impact assessments for the project. Both were endorsed by the committee.
13. We gazetted the proposed road scheme under the Roads (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance on 12 September 1997 and received 12 objections . Seven objectors subsequently withdrew their objections unconditionally. Of the five unresolved objections remaining -
- one objector asked for improvements to an existing access road and a run-in leading to his village. He also requested permission for vehicles to make direct right turns into and out from the run-in. We advised him that upgrading of the access road was already under planning via a local improvement project. We also advised him that the run-in was already wide enough for the movement of vehicles. We considered his request to allow direct right-turn movements into the run-in unjustifiable from traffic flow and safety angles. The objector was dissatisfied with this response and refused to withdraw his objection;
- another objector complained that the proposed resumption of part of his land would block the entrance to the remainder of his lot and this would affect its value and future development potential. We offered to provide an access to the unresumed area of land but the objector remained concerned about the amount of compensation he would receive and decided to maintain his objection;
- the third objector was also concerned that resumption of part of his land would block the access to the remaining part of his site. Again, we proposed to provide an access road to the objector's remaining land and he agreed to withdraw the objection subject to the proposed modification;
- the fourth objector requested that part of his land which had been approved for development as a petrol station by the Town Planning Board should not be resumed. We proposed minor modifications to the road scheme to obviate the partial resumption. The objector agreed to withdraw the objections subject to the proposed modifications; and
- the fifth objector requested resumption of the whole, instead of part, of his affected lots. We did not agree to the request as the relevant part of the objector's land falls outside the resumption limit and is not necessary for the project. The objector therefore maintained his objection.
14. Having considered the objections and the proposed modifications to the proposed works, the Chief Executive in Council authorised the project on 30 June 1998.ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS
15. In November 1996 we completed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study to assess the environmental impacts due to the construction and operation of the project. The EIA study findings were endorsed by the Advisory Council on Environment in December 1996. The EIA recommended erection of noise barriers as direct mitigation measures for Ko Po Tsuen and Kam Fung Terrace. The study also recommended the provision of indirect mitigation measures in the form of window insulation and air conditioning for 33 affected dwelling units at Ko Po San Tsuen and Au Tau. We have taken these findings into account in the design, construction and operation of the project. We will implement the recommended environmental mitigation measures, monitoring and audit programme during the project construction period to ensure compliance with established environmental standards. We will compensate for the loss of some trees by replanting and transplanting. For short-term construction impact, we will control noise, dust and site runoff nuisances to comply with established guidelines and standards through the implementation of environmental pollution control measures and environmental monitoring and audit programme in the contract.
16. We estimate the cost of implementing the environmental mitigation measures to be $20.5 million. We have included this cost in the overall project estimate.
17. For the proposed widening works, we shall resume 19 407 square metres of agricultural land, 155 square metres of building land, 358 square metres of garden land, 415 square metres of private residential land and 44 square metres of orchard land. The land acquisition will affect 2 families and 5 persons. The Director of Housing has reserved housing places for the re-housing of the affected persons when the clearance commences in early 1999. We will charge the land acquisition and clearance costs estimated at $70.3 million to Head 701 " "Land Acquisition" subhead 1100 CA " "Compensation and ex-gratia allowance in respect of projects in the Public Works Programme". We anticipate that the land required for the project will be available in April 1999. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
18. In 1994, the Update of the Second Comprehensive Transport Study concluded that there was a need to improve Kam Tin Road to cope with the anticipated traffic demands. The proposed improvements comprise three projects -
- 560TH - Improvement to Kam Tin Road, Stage 1;
- 702TH - Improvement to Kam Tin Road, Stage 2; and
- 246TH - Kam Tin Bypass.
19. We upgraded 560TH to Category B in August 1995. We have substantially completed the detailed design and working drawings by using in-house resources. We plan to start the roadworks as soon as practicable after funding approval, in any case not later than April 1999. The works will take some 30 months to finish. We aim to complete the construction works by October 2001 at the latest.
20. We included 702TH in Category B in August 1997 for the stage 2 improvement of Kam Tin Road from Kam Tin to the Route Twisk junction with a current cost estimate of $563.1 million in December 1997 prices. The project is now at the investigation and preliminary design stage and is scheduled to commence construction in 2002 for completion in 2005. We included 246TH in Category B in October 1994 for construction of a new dual 2-lane carriageway to bypass Kam Tin at a current cost estimate of $237.6 million in December 1997 prices. The project is now at the detailed design stage and we plan to commence construction in 2001 for completion in 2003.
21. To minimise disruption to traffic during the construction of 560TH, we will maintain the existing traffic arrangements (i.e. one traffic lane in each direction) at all times during construction. We will also maintain the existing traffic movements for the local access roads / run-ins and provide pedestrain diversion routes where necessary.