If there’s one thing Lantau’s rural representatives agree on it’s roads.
They are urging construction of two roads in particular: a northwest coastal road from Tung Chung to Tai O, and a north-south link from Pak Mong, just east of Tung Chung, to Mui Wo.
The coastal road was canvassed in the early LanDAC plans – as was a road from Tai O to Fan Lau – but was rejected, either for reasons for cost or conservation. The north coast, which hosts villages such as San Tau and Sha Lo Wan, includes coastal wetlands and natural streams and habitat for butterflies and diverse rare species.
Randy Yu, Islands District Council vice-chairman and newly-elected member for South Lantau, complained that “authorities have never thought about a long-term transport strategy” for Lantau.
In a submission to Legco on Lantau development he said the Tung Chung-Tai O road had been discussed for 20 to 30 years and “is still at the discussion stage.” In the recent Easter period, 30,000 people visited Tai O, with similar crowds during the Qingming holiday. The local transport network cannot support such loads, he said.
Likewise, the Pak Mong-Mui Wo link had been on the table for some time “but the authorities still end up doing nothing,” he added.
Yu’s predecessor on the IDC, Rainbow Wong, made the same points in the submission by his group, the Lantau Association of Societies. He recalled that the Highways Dept had hired consultancy to carry out feasibility study in 1998 on building a tunnel from north Lantau to Mui Wo. (The Highways Dept rejected the plan because of the cost of constructing a road tunnel underneath Lantau North Country Park.)
Wong said the tunnel would take pressure off Tung Chung as a traffic hub and serve the needs of Mui Wo. With new housing developments, including HOS apartments, Mui Wo’s population of around 5,000 is likely to grow some 40% in the next few years.
The anonymous banners hung around South Lantau in May, which were linked to Wong and his group, also demanded the expansion and upgrade of the road network.
Holden Chow, vice-chairman of the DAB and IDC member for Tung Chung South, was another to seek the building of the coastal road to Tai O.
Additionally, with the planned East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) aimed at providing road or rail links between Mui Wo and Hong Kong Island, he called for a study into the feasibility of building bridges between the ELM and Cheung Chau, Lantau, Lamma and Peng Chau islands.