Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499)
(ACE-EIA Paper 8/2002)
Environmental Impact Assessment
Improvement to Tung Chung Road Between Lung Tseng Tau and Cheung Sha
This paper presents the key findings and recommendations of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the Improvement to Tung Chung Road between Lung Tseng Tau and Cheung Sha submitted under section 6(2) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO). The Highways Department (HyD) and their consultants will make a presentation. Comments from the public and ACE will be taken into account by the Director of Environmental Protection when he makes his decision on the approval of EIA report under the EIAO.
2. Members' views are sought on the findings and recommendations of the EIA report.
Need for the Project
3. The existing Tung Chung Road is sub-standard, carries a significant proportion of buses and coaches and is experiencing an increasing number of traffic accidents. Although Government has introduced operational controls in an attempt to maintain safe traffic conditions on the existing road, the number of traffic accidents is already considered high. The improved road is now required to rectify this undesirable situation.
4. The current proposal is an alternative solution to the previously proposed Lantau North-South Link Road. The present alignment will avoid the ecologically sensitive Tai Ho Bay and Tai Ho Stream. In Feb 2001, Transport Bureau presented a paper to ACE on the proposal to proceed with the Tung Chung Road Widening Scheme. In Nov 2001, HyD presented an information paper to the ACE EIA Subcommittee on the preferred road alignment and the progress of the study.
Description of the Project
5. The Project is a Designated Project under Item A.1, Schedule 2 of the EIAO. (i.e. A road which is an expressway, truck road, primary distributor road or district distributor road including new roads, and major extensions or improvements to existing roads.)
6. The EIA study brief for the project was issued to HyD on 28th Feb 2001. An application for the approval of the EIA report was submitted by HyD on 6th April 2002. On 7th May 2002, the Director of Environmental Protection advised HyD under Section 6(3)(a) and Section 6(4) of the EIA Ordinance that the EIA report is suitable for public inspection.
7. The existing Tung Chung Road section from Lung Tseng Tau to Cheung Sha will be widened or realigned, approximately 7km long, with a general carriageway width of 7.3m and a footpath of about 0.6m wide. A bus-to-bus interchange with bus bays and U-turn facilities for buses near the junction of Tung Chung Road and South Cheung Sha Road and associated works will be constructed. The proposed road alignment is shown in Figure 1. No climbing lane has been provided in the road in order to minimize the footprint of the works. The improved road will be operated as a closed road in a similar manner to the existing road.
Characteristic of the Selected Alignment
8. The selected alignment is the shortest overland route between Tung Chung and South Lantau Road. The alignment avoids Cheung Sha Stream and Tung Chung Stream as far as possible and allows widening on-line at the northern section in order to minimise habitat loss. The selected alignment also minimizes the amount of bridgeworks, earthworks and retaining walls.
9. The alignment designed to cross all ecologically sensitive streams on structure in order to avoid direct impacts. The haul road is specified along the main route in order to reduce the habitat loss.
Specific Environmental Aspects to Highlight
10. The major environmental issues identified for the Project are: surface run-off during construction, ecology, noise and landscape and visual:
Surface run-off during construction
11. The project study area contains two streams of high ecological value, namely Tung Chung and Cheung Sha Stream. In the northern section of the road, the construction activities would mainly carried out at the eastern side of the existing road so that the existing Tung Chung Road would acts as buffer for the construction run-off. In the southern section, the alignment of the new Tung Chung Road is so selected to avoid the Cheung Sha Stream as far away as possible. In addition to the provision of buffer, the operational drainage system in the northern section will be constructed ahead of the main roadworks for discharging the construction run-off. In the southern section, purpose built surface run-off system will be provided to collect the run-off for treatment prior to discharge.
12. With the proposed mitigation measures in place, the EIA Report concluded that there is no adverse water quality impacts are predicted.
13. The major issue identified is the loss of woodland habitats. The improvement to Tung Chung Road consists of widening the existing road from Lung Tseng Tau to Pak Ku Au, realignment of the existing road from Pak Ku Au to Cheung Sha. The road section will run through the Lantau North and Lantau South Country Park. The EIA recommended a road alignment that will restrict the footprint of the road construction work to minimize the disturbance to the Country Park. However, the present road alignment will still incur a loss of 2.25ha of secondary woodland of high ecological value; 5ha of plantation wood land of moderate to high ecological value; 6.5ha of tall shrub with moderate to high ecological value and 1ha of shrubland/grassland mosaic with moderate ecological value. The EIA recommended 25 ha of compensation planting at existing man-made slopes along the obsolete sections of the Tung Chung Road; at previously disturbed bare ground and at the cut slopes of the new road will be provided to compensate the habitat loss. The EIA concluded that the residual impact will be moderate in the short term when the trees planted are still young; minor in the medium term impact as the trees grow up and insignificant after 10 to 15 years.
14. During operational phase of improved Tung Chung Road, no residential dwellings which are affected by this project will experience noise above 70dB(A) standard after implementation of direct noise mitigation measures. In order to protect the future sensitive receivers at the Cheung Sha land sale site, a landscape earth bund together with a 4m non-building area is proposed.
Landscape and Visual
15. Extensive compensatory planting is proposed along the alignment to compensate for the woodland and shrubland lost and to help re-established the landscape pattern and reduce the visual impact of the road. The EIA concluded that there is no adverse landscape and visual impacts.
Environmental Monitoring and Audit (EM&A)
16. A framework for EM&A programme is proposed in the draft EM&A Manual. An Independent Environmental Checker is recommended to audit the EM&A programme.
Comments received so far from the Public during the Public Inspection Period
17. HyD is to make the EIA report, the EM&A Manual and the Executive Summary available for the public to comment under the EIAO. Members will be briefed on any comments received from the public at the meeting.
Environmental Assessment and Noise Division
Environmental Protection Department