When part of the South Lantau Road was obstructed due to landslides last month, it had to be temporarily closed, interrupting the flow of traffic. Fortunately, the authorities were able to clear much of the obstruction before nightfall, and the ferry service between Tung Chung and Tai O was stepped up, minimising inconvenience to local residents.
Such occurrences are rare but South Lantau’s traffic issues remain a key concern for local residents. There is real room for improvement, primarily because the South Lantau Road is still the only road in the district. In the event of road congestion caused by unforeseen circumstances, such as a landslide, it follows that residents are going to be inconvenienced and emergency services impeded.
To ease the situation, the government has launched a series of improvement projects in multiple locations along the South Lantau Road. Safety measures include increasing road width and straightening road bends. Initial works are focused on improving traffic and pedestrian circulation outside Tai O.
In addition, I would suggest that concerned parties look into improving road traffic flow-control during peak hours and on public holidays. Presently, only one bus company serves the route from Tung Chung to Tai O, which leads to long queues at Tung Chung. The service frequency needs to be increased, and special queuing and boarding measures, for local residents and visitors, put in place at the bus terminus.
The ferry service connecting Tuen Mun, Tung Chung, Tai O and Sha Lo Wan also needs to be improved. Since the last ferry from Tung Chung to Tai O departs at 5.30pm, many local residents have no choice but to drive or take the bus to work. Ferry service frequency is limited even on public holidays, when tourists flock in, which again puts a severe strain on the road. All these improvements would, I believe, help ease traffic congestion issues for South Lantau residents.
Image: Terry Chow
The Lantau Development Alliance (LaDA) is a group of local organisations and enterprises on Lantau that have come together to promote the social and economic development of the island. Visit www.lantau-da.com.hk.