N. Lantau Highway traffic up 40% over four years

North Lantau Highway traffic has increased by more than two-fifths in recent years, according to Transport Department (TD) figures.

The department believes the freeway has enough capacity to cope with extra vehicles brought by major new projects on North Lantau, such as the HZM Bridge and the Tung Chung expansion.

However, Transport and Housing Secretary, Frank Chan, acknowledged in a reply to Legco yesterday that the department had not done any analysis of major roads in central Tung Chung.

The TD had forecast that the volume to capacity ratio of North Lantau Highway during peak hours in 2021 would be about 0.7 and that the traffic flow would not be saturated, Chan said.

TD figures show that morning airport-bound traffic on the freeway averaged 3,750 vehicles an hour in 2016, up 41% over the 2012 level. Afternoon Kowloon-bound traffic had also registered a significant increase over the period, up 41% to 3,500 vehicles an hour.

But vehicle numbers on Shun Tung Road, the major approach from Tung Chung to the airport, grew by as much as 31% over the 2012-16 period.

However, the department had made no forecast on traffic growth on Shun Tung Road or adjacent Tat Tung Road, Chan said.

Traffic growth (Source: Transport Department)

Holden Chow, local member of both Legco and the Islands District Council, said residents had expressed concern that major expansion projects would make local traffic congestion even worse.

Chan said that for future North Lantau projects the government would require traffic impact assessments and mitigation proposals to ensure the transport infrastructure could cope with the additional traffic flow.

He said the Civil Engineering and Development Department is currently conducting a study into Lantau’s transport infrastructure and services. It is expected to report in early 2019.

Following the release of the Hong Kong 2030+ plan, the Transport and Highway departments would carry out an assessment of railways and major roads for 2031 and beyond.

Photo (top): tksteven via Wikimedia Commons

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