1)   Background Information
1)   Background Information
Route 11 is a strategic road from Lam Tei to North Lantau, routing through So Kwun Wat, Tai Lam Chung and Tsing Lung Tau, which comprises Lam Tei Tunnel, Tai Lam Chung Tunnel, Tsing Lung Bridge and So Kwun Wat Link Road.
The proposed road will balance the overall layout of the major routes plying between the NWNT and the urban areas and bring huge benefits to the public.
We need to construct Route 11 to connect the Northwest New Territories (NWNT) to the urban areas to meet the traffic demand arising from the progressive development of the NWNT and to improve the traffic conditions of major roads connecting the urban areas with the NWNT (including Tuen Mun Road, Tai Lam Tunnel and Ting Kau Bridge). With the improved road infrastructure, development potential of relevant areas can be unleashed effectively.
We have established the need to construct Tsing Yi-Lantau Link in the feasibility study of Route 11. The traffic from NWNT could use Tsing Yi-Lantau Link after passing through Route 11 to the urban areas so that the traffic conditions of Ting Kau Bridge and Lantau Link can be relieved.
With a view to further enhancing the connection between Route 11 and the development areas in Yuen Long South, etc. we plan to widen a section of Yuen Long Highway adjacent to the proposed Lam Tei Quarry Interchange, preliminarily set between the proposed Lam Tei Quarry Interchange and Tong Yan San Tsuen Interchange.
Route 11 and the associated major roads connecting the NWNT to the urban areas can bring overall traffic benefits. Apart from improving the traffic conditions of major roads connecting the NWNT with the urban areas (including Tuen Mun Road, Tai Lam Tunnel and Ting Kau Bridge), it can also, by improving road infrastructure, further strengthen the connectivity of major roads and enhance the capacity of interchanges, strengthen the connectivity of developments in the vicinity, and unleash the development potential of the relevant areas effectively.
With the improved traffic conditions of major roads between the NWNT and the urban areas (including Tuen Mun Road, Tai Lam Tunnel and Ting Kau Bridge), a more direct connection brought about by Route 11 and the associated major roads to residents in the NWNT, and shorter travelling distance for some trips, we anticipate that the travelling time from the NWNT to the urban areas can be reduced by about 10 minutes in 2036.
Route 11 and Tsing Yi-Lantau Link will provide an alternative route for commuting between the NWNT and the urban areas, and will strengthen the resilience to traffic incidents of the NWNT traffic network. In the event that there are major emergencies on major roads connecting the NWNT and the urban areas (such as Tuen Mun Road, Tai Lam Tunnel or Ting Kau Bridge), with the various accesses and connections to major roads in the NWNT, Route 11 and Tsing Yi-Lantau Link could serve as a reliable alternative route for diverting the traffic towards the urban areas. Besides, Route 11 and Tsing Yi-Lantau Link will also serve as an additional strategic route connecting the NWNT and Lantau, strengthening the resilience to traffic incidents of the road network connecting to the airport.
We have commenced the engineering and technical study of Tsing Yi-Lantau Link in March 2021. After having the preliminary results of the study, we will carry out the public consultation and consult relevant stakeholders timely in order to collect the views of the public on the proposed scheme.
We will carry out the investigation study and design works of the widening of Yuen Long Highways as soon as possible. After having the preliminary results of the study and design works, we will consult relevant stakeholders timely. The target is to commission this project in conjunction with Route 11 not later than 2036 to further enhance the connection between Yuen Long district and Route 11 and improve the traffic conditions of Yuen Long Highway at that moment.
2)   Implementation Programme
Our target is to progressively commission Route 11, Tsing Yi-Lantau Link and the widened Yuen Long Highway (Section between Lam Tei and Tong Yan San Tsuen) not later than 2036.
The entire group of strategic roads is complex and large-scale. Based on previous experience in the implementation of major transportation infrastructure, generally it will take more than 10 years from feasibility study, investigation study, detailed design to construction stages. We will review and determine the commissioning date and priority of different road sections with consideration of overall traffic benefits, time and resources required for the implementation, etc. in subsequent studies, so as to ensure that the project can be progressively commissioned as soon as possible.
3)   Scope and Programme of Investigation Study
Based on the preliminary alignment and assessments of the feasibility study, the investigation study of Route 11 is to further determine the alignment, overall layout, preliminary design proposal and land requirements. We will carry out a number of impact assessments covering traffic, marine, drainage, water supplies, utilities sustainability, etc. in the investigation study. We will also carry out site investigation works to gather geotechnical and geological information for the related design works.
Route 11 is a designated project under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO), and we are required to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for Route 11 and apply for an environmental permit for the construction and operation of Route 11 in accordance with the EIAO. The EIA study will assess the environmental impacts on the environment due to the works, and it will cover the aspects of air quality, water quality, ecology, fisheries, cultural heritage, noise, landscape and visual impacts, etc.
Moreover, we will gazette the road scheme according to Road (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance and conduct public consultation to collect and respond to the views of different stakeholders on the project for optimising the engineering scheme and seeking authorization so that the project can be smoothly implemented.
Last of all, we will carry out the preliminary designs of various sections of Route 11 (including Tsing Lung Bridge, tunnels, viaducts, adjacent slope features and associated buildings) to pave way for the detailed design in the next stage.
Based on the preliminary alignment and assessments of the feasibility study, we need to carry out the investigation study for gathering more information such as geotechnical and geological information, wind tunnel test results, etc. so as to further determine the alignment, overall layout, preliminary design proposal and land requirements of Route 11. We will carry out the relevant impact assessments in the investigation study (including an EIA study) and site investigation works. After there are preliminary results of the impact assessments and site investigation, we will carry out the preliminary designs of the various road sections of Route 11 concurrently to pave way for the detailed design in the next stage.
Moreover, we will gazette the road scheme according to Road (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance and conduct public consultation to collect and respond to the views of different stakeholders on the project for optimising the engineering scheme and seeking authorization so that the project can be smoothly implemented. We anticipate that the relevant statutory procedure will commence about 30 months after the commencement of the investigation study. Based on previous experience in the implementation of major transport infrastructure, we have set aside about 24 months for handling public views collected in the statutory procedures. If the statutory procedures could be completed earlier than anticipated, we will proceed to the detailed design and construction of the project as soon as possible.
We had established the need of planning Route 11 (ex-Route 10) more than 10 years ago. The Government reviewed in 2015 the overall long-term external traffic demands of the NWNT and considered there was a need to study the feasibility of Route 11 to meet the traffic demand arising from the progressive development of the NWNT and to improve the traffic conditions of Tuen Mun Road, Tai Lam Tunnel and Ting Kau Bridge.
Therefore, the planning of Route 11 is not related to the “Lantau Tomorrow Vision” and Route 11 is still necessary regardless of the progress of “Lantau Tomorrow Vision”.
Generally, we have to confirm the details of major infrastructure before estimating the construction cost. The final alignment and technical details have to be confirmed in the investigation study and subsequent detailed design stages. Therefore, we cannot provide the construction cost in this stage.
Route 11 is currently at the investigation study stage, it will take about 10 years from this stage to detailed design and construction stages. Apart from the considerations of year of implementation and market factors, the construction cost is affected by the EIA, gazetting of the road scheme according to Road (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance and public consultation to be carried out in this stage. Therefore, there are uncertainties on the final alignment and scale of Route 11.
Moreover, we are still missing the important information for construction cost estimation, such as the site investigation results in relation to design and construction method of tunnels and the wind tunnel test results which may affect the design of the long span suspension bridge, Tsing Lung Bridge, etc. Therefore, it is not appropriate to estimate the construction cost in this stage in view of the uncertainties on alignment and scale, and lack of the aforesaid important information.
We will carry out more detailed study on the alignment of Route 11 in the investigation study and design stage with the considerations of adjacent developments, spatial location, traffic data and environmental impacts, so as to determine the final alignment and design for construction cost estimation. At that moment, we will also implement appropriate cost control measures, including dividing the project into multiple contracts in order to enhance the competitiveness of tendering, and adopting standard designs and prefabricated components as much as possible.
We have yet to formulate the toll strategy of Route 11 currently. In the feasibility study of Route 11, we have considered different toll conditions and confirmed that the proposed alignment and traffic lanes are sufficient to cater for the traffic demand under different scenarios.
First of all, we obtain the traffic flow (i.e. passenger car units per hour (pcu/hr) and volume/capacity (v/c) ratio) in the morning and evening peak hours of different directions at each road section in the NWNT and the urban areas from the traffic model used in the traffic impact assessment.
After obtaining the highest v/c ratio of the road sections, we carry out route analysis by using matrix of different origins in the NWNT (for examples Yuen Long and Tuen Mun) to different destinations in the urban areas to calculate the traffic speed and required travel time, and eventually compare those against the original travel times for the calculation of the reduction in travelling time.
Nevertheless, the possible reduction in travelling time saving depends on the starting point in the NWNT, destination in the urban areas, original travelling route in the absence of Route 11 and associated major routes, and the time of day for the trips.
This value is the v/c ratio for lanes other than the bus-only lane on Tuen Mun Road (Sham Tseng Section). The v/c ratio for the bus-only lane on Tuen Mun Road (Sham Tseng Section) will be below 1.0, indicating smooth traffic on the bus-only lane.
We have already taken into account of minimizing the private land resumption and impact on graves when formulating the preliminary alignment of Route 11. Nevertheless, we anticipate that private lands will be resumed, government lands will be cleared, permitted burial grounds will be affected and graves will be relocated for the project. We will review and confirm the affected lands according to the final alignment in the investigation study stage. We will also maintain close liaison with the potentially affected stakeholders and handle the related issues in accordance with the current policy and mechanism.