The government has taken a further step to realize plans for an escalator and walkway system that links the MTR Fortress Hill Station to the top of Braemar Hill.
The Highways Department has completed the preliminary design and engineering impact assessment for the system and consulted the Eastern District Council about the proposal, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Should everything go according to plan, the system is expected to open as soon as 2020.
However, the start of the construction will depend on how fast the Legislative Council’s finance committee and its public works subcommittee approve the project and appropriate the funds.
The department will submit the proposal to the Executive Council for approval within a year’s time, and once it receives all the necessary clearances, it can be finished within 42-48 months.
The second system of its kind on Hong Kong Island after the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator and Walkway System, the Braemar Hill Pedestrian Link will consist of lifts, automatic walkways, escalators and elevated walkways.
Dating back to 10 years ago, the proposal aims to service people who regularly walk up the steep Braemar Hill to reach their homes or schools in the Mid-Levels.
After years of study, the department came up with the plans for the system.
Originally, the system was proposed to start at Pak Fa Lam Road near the MTR North Point Station, but it was changed to begin on a slope next to the MTR Fortress Hill Station.
Frankie Lo, a member of the Eastern District Council, said the proposal was changed after a study showed that a route starting from MTR Fortress Hill Station could attract an average of 14,000 users per day, several times the expected number of users if it were to start from Pak Fa Lam Road.
By comparison, the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator and Walkway System, which was launched in 1993, saw the daily average number of users reaching 85,000 as of 2010, according to data from the Transport Department.
The project requires the expropriation of land that forms part of a driveway for residents at Fortress Garden, but Lo said it should not pose a problem as he believes they will welcome the move.
David Leung, who chairs the Planning, Works and Housing Committee of the Eastern District Council, expressed support for the project, although he noted that the current design available is only the first draft and it would take a long time to get the necessary funds.
According to a manager at property agent Midland Realty, news about the project alone could push up home prices in the affected areas by at least 10 percent and another 30-40 percent after it is completed.
[Chinese version 中文版]
– Contact us at [email protected]