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Press Releases and Statements

Government responds to HSBC's statement on reclamation

In response to a statement published by HSBC today (March 5) on "its position on the management of Hong Kong's Harbour", a Government spokesman addressed the questions raised in particular the methodology for building the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB) in relation to Central reclamation Phase III (CRIII) and the reasons for not pursuing with the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) Scheme.

"The Government has examined different tunnel options for the CWB including the immersed tunnel and bored tunnel options. However, these options have their limitations," the spokesman said.

For the "Immersed Tube Option", it has to be built above seabed level and the navigational depth available is not adequate.

"Under such circumstances, all marine traffic including Star Ferry Piers and Queen's Pier will need to be reprovisioned north of the CWB."

"In addition, water between the existing shoreline and the CWB will become a zone of stagnant water which will result in localized adverse water quality. Reclamation is still required for the protection of the CWB and for the reprovided facilities," the spokesman noted.

For the "Bored Tunnel Option", a deep tunnel has to be built below existing seabed level.

"It will be impossible to make connections with the road networks at Wan Chai North and Central Reclamation Phase I, and also the Rumsey Street Flyover as the road gradients will be too steep to comply with the current design standards," the spokesman said.

"Our conclusion is that the most reasonable and practical option is to construct the CWB within CRIII in the form of a tunnel through reclamation along the present proposed alignment," he added.

Turning to the ERP scheme, the spokesman said the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau remains of the view that while the scheme is one of the range of possible traffic management measures, there is as yet no community consensus on its possible implementation in Hong Kong.

"In any event, the CWB would still be required to provide an alternative route to traffic not destined for the Central Business District area if ERP were to be implemented," the spokesman said.

"Public acceptance of the ERP scheme under the current economic climate also needs to be gauged carefully and fully," he added.

Ends/Friday, March 5, 2004