LCQ1 Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link

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					LCQ1: Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link
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     Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a
reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng,
at the Legislative Council meeting today (November 25):

Question:


     The Government plans to seek in the near future funding
approval from the Finance Committee of this Council for the
construction of the Hong Kong Section of the
Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) and
intends to locate the terminus in West Kowloon, while the West
Kowloon Terminus (WKT) will extend into part of the
underground area of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD).
In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:


(a) whether the Government has conducted any assessment
regarding the impact of WKT on the traffic of Yau Tsim Mong
District; if it has, of the respective estimated
volume/capacity ratios of the main roads in the vicinity
(including Austin Road, Jordan Road, Lin Cheung Road, Nathan
Road, Canton Road, Kowloon Park Drive, Ferry Street and West
Kowloon Highway) after the Hong Kong Section of the XRL has
been completed for 5, 10 and 15 years;


(b) of the total land area to be occupied by the works of
the Hong Kong Section of the XRL for site purposes and the
duration of such occupation, together with a table listing
out the respective surface and underground areas in WKCD to
be occupied permanently and temporarily for the aforesaid
works, as well as the duration of occupation for each part
of land; whether it has assessed if the works of the Hong Kong
Section of the XRL will affect the overall planning and design
of WKCD, slow down the construction of the cultural facilities
within the district, and thus increase the construction costs
of such facilities; if it has, of the assessment results; and
(c)   given that WKT will be located in part of the underground
area of WKCD, whether the Government needs to install
additional noise barriers in the connecting underground area
for the cultural facilities to be constructed on the relevant
surface area in the future, so that users of the facilities
would not be affected by the noise of running XRL trains; if
so, of the details and expenditure involved; if not, how the
WKCD Authority will resolve the noise problem?


Reply :

President,


     The Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong
Kong Express Link (XRL) will link up Hong Kong, Shenzhen,
Dongguan and Guangzhou with significantly reduced journey
time. More importantly, it will become part of the 16,000 km
national high-speed rail network now being developed in full
steam, fostering closer economic ties between Hong Kong and
the Mainland. The XRL plays an unparallelled role in driving
our economic development in the long term.


      The terminus of the Hong Kong section of the XRL will
be located in West Kowloon, which is in the proximity of most
commercial, retail, hotel and residential districts and well
served by existing and planned railway and road networks.
Around 30% of the Hong Kong population reside and almost half
of the workforce work within five kilometres from the West
Kowloon Terminus (WKT). Passengers may efficiently and
conveniently proceed from their origins to the WKT or from
the WKT to their final destinations. The location of the WKT
can attract more travellers to use the XRL, maximising the
economic benefit of the rail link. The Administration has
developed an overall plan to improve the traffic condition
in the West Kowloon Area. In addition, relevant government
departments will continue to work closely with the West
Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA), so as to
maximise the synergy between the XRL and the West Kowloon
Cultural District (WKCD).


     As regards the three parts of the question raised by the
Honorary Member, my reply is as follows:


(1) To better tie in with the development in the West Kowloon
district, the Transport Department completed the "West
Kowloon Reclamation Development Traffic Study" (the Study)
in 2009. The purpose of the Study was to improve the road and
pedestrian connection in the West Kowloon district, and to
tackle the congestion in some of the junctions, with a view
to meeting the increasing traffic demand arising from the
entire West Kowloon New Development Area (WKNDA), including
the WKCD, and the commissioning of the WKT.


      The design philosophy of the Study is to segregate
inter-district and local traffic by a three-layered road
network (one at-grade layer, and two underground layers).
Such design connects the local network directly to major roads
in the region (e.g. West Kowloon Highway, West Kowloon
Corridor, West Harbour Crossing, and the future Central
Kowloon Route), ensuring smooth inter-district and local
traffic flow.


     Major road improvement works suggested in the Study
include the following:

*constructing of an underpass connecting Austin Road West
(near Canton Road) and Lin Cheung Road (north of Jordan Road),
with a view to segregate inter-district and local road traffic
and providing an unobstructed access to WKCD, WKT and Airport
Express Kowloon Station;


*improving the Austin Road/ Canton Road junction, including
consideration on constructing the Canton Road Underpass and
extending the existing subway system; and
*implementing other improvement works which link the WKNDA
directly to the nearby highways, so as to alleviate the burden
on local road network.

     Local traffic management schemes will also be
implemented to address the current traffic congestion
problems along Jordan Road and Canton Road.

     Currently, the capacities of several major junctions in
the West Kowloon district are saturated, or close to
saturation at peak hours. The improvement works described
above have already taken into account traffic demand arising
from the XRL, the WKCD and other developments in the district.
It is estimated that most of them will be in place by 2015.
The traffic pressure in the district would be relieved, with
reserved capacity at most junctions remaining at above 10%
at all times up to 2031.


(2) Regarding strategic synergy, locating the terminus of
the Hong Kong section of the XRL right next to WKCD enables
the two projects to complement each other. Capitalising on
the travelling convenience brought about by the XRL, more
visitors from the Pearl River Delta region will be attracted
to take part in the cultural and arts activities in WKCD. In
return, WKCD will boost the XRL patronage, thereby enhancing
the cost-effectiveness of the rail link. Complementing each
other and being developed in a coordinated manner, the two
projects will create synergy, bringing greater benefits to
the economy of Hong Kong. In fact, the consultants of the WKCDA
concur that there will great synergy for placing the terminus
of the Hong Kong section of the XRL next to the WKCD. They
will take this into account when developing the master layout
plan for the WKCD, in order to maximise such benefit.


     The 3.3-hectare (ha) underground extension of the WKT
into WKCD provides a convenient access to the WKCD by XRL
passengers. Integrating the XRL into the WKCD will greatly
enhance the prominence of the former as the gateway to Mainland
China and the latter as a regional cultural hub. The Tourism
Commission envisages that proper integration of the two will
help generate more visits to the proposed arts, cultural and
tourism facilities in the WKCD, thereby promoting cultural
tourism.


      As for coordination during the construction stage, we
have been in constant dialogue with the WKCDA to coordinate
the works of both projects. According to the current planning,
part of the land at the WKCD will be used as temporary works
sites of the XRL project from December 2009 to late 2014.
Arrangement can be made to return the sites in phases from
early 2012 to facilitate Phase 1 development of the WKCD. The
latest forecast suggests that works areas occupied by the XRL
project will be gradually reduced from not more than 14 ha
in December 2009 to around 3 ha at the end of 2014. We will
maintain close contact and co-ordination with WKCDA and
ensure the timely completion of both the Hong Kong section
of the XRL and Phase 1 development of WKCD in 2015.


     As regards the transport planning, the master planning
and design of the WKCD is still at its stage of drawing up
the master layout plan. On one hand, we take the opportunities
of implementing the WKT to design and construct as early as
possible the roads and pedestrian facilities around the WKT
and the WKCD, with a view to commissioning these facilities
in tandem with Phase 1 of the WKCD. On the other hand, we have
designed the facilities with good flexibility to better cater
for the future creative planning of the WKCD. For instance,
in respect of the connection points for roads and pedestrian
facilities, we will endeavour to provide a wide range of
options. This offers WKCD more planning and design latitude
as a whole.


     The Home Affairs Bureau has established a standing
inter-departmental coordinating committee led by a senior
directorate officer and with participation of
representatives from the Transport and Housing Bureau,
Highways Department and Transport Department, etc. The
committee coordinates the planning of the WKCD and its nearby
infrastructural projects, including the planning and
construction of the XRL project, to ensure that these projects
can be implemented smoothly, maximising the synergy and
minimising the impact on one another.


(3) The WKT platforms will be extended into the WKCD, taking
up about 3.3 ha of strata, which is less than 10% of its area.
The planning of the rest of the WKCD will not be affected by
the XRL project at all.

     The current planning assumption is to allow medium-rise
structures up to 70 metres above Principal Datum (i.e. about
15-20 storeys) to be built in this 3.3-ha area. Enabling works,
which include those for the foundation, noise and vibration
mitigation and the transfer plate (including isolated slab
track), will be carried out in the strata of the extension
area under the Hong Kong section of the XRL. The ground-borne
noise generated from vibration will comply with the standards
stipulated in the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance
and the Noise Control Ordinance. Similar measures have been
used for the superstructure development of other railway
stations and the result is satisfactory.

Ends/Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Issued at HKT 18:55

				
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