Wherever possible in Hong Kong’s crowded urban areas, major roads should run underground,.  The higher construction costs would be offset by the value of surface land released, and by improvements to air quality, noise level, urban landscape, and accessibility to pedestrians.  Modern scrubber systems can remove most of the pollutants from exhaust fumes in tunnels.

These arguments are especially cogent for roads near the Harbourfront, starting with P2, the planned 40-metre wide highway from Central to Wanchai that would make it difficult for people to walk to the new Central waterfront. 

Secondly, the existing approach is to build the Central-Wanchai Bypass as a tunnel, under reclaimed land, some distance off the existing shoreline.  One problem is that this contravenes a recent court ruling against temporary reclamation.  As a result, construction of the Central-Wanchai Bypass and the Shatin-to-Central Link may be delayed. 

A better alternative, which obviates any need for temporary reclamation and requires less permanent reclamation, is for the road to run just below ground level, mostly on land reclaimed immediately along the existing shore, but also boring under existing land surface where expedient. 

Longer term, the Eastern Corridor should be reprovisioned underground using the same methods.  The island eastern harbourfront would then be rejuvenated.      

For further details, click here for the full commentary “For a better Harbourfront, re-claim land from roads”. 

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