Monday rush-hour traffic at Central-Wanchai Bypass gets a 'pass'

January 21, 2019 13:32
A Transport Department official described the traffic in the vicinity of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass on Monday morning as a "pass", although there were traffic jams in some areas. Photo: HKEJ

The first phase of the HK$36 billion Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link (CWB) opened on Sunday after nearly nine years of construction, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The 4.5-kilometer highway, including a 3.7-km tunnel, connects the Rumsey Street Flyover in Central and the Island Eastern Corridor in North Point to ease traffic between the two districts.

Traffic was relatively smooth on Sunday morning, but vehicles backed up on both eastbound and westbound lanes of the bypass at around 3 p.m., then gradually eased off going as the night set in.

The real situation could be seen at the start of the working week. And Eddie Leung Siu-kong, chief traffic engineer of the Transport Department, described the traffic situation in Central and Western District as having a grade of "pass" during the morning rush hour on Monday, although there were traffic jams in a few areas.

Traffic at the Kowloon-bound entrance of the Western Harbour Crossing was smooth, Leung told a radio program. 

Still, he advised motorists heading for the Central and Western District and the Western Harbour Crossing during rush hours to continue using their original routes including Gloucester Road, Harcourt Road, and Connaught Road Central until the bypass is completely commissioned. 

On Saturday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, along with several officials and lawmakers, got on an open-top double-decker bus for the commissioning ceremony. 

In her speech, Lam said the bypass, which took 30 years to materialize, reflects the government's unwavering commitment to pursue infrastructure projects in the city. 

The bypass was scheduled to be opened in two stages. The second stage is expected to be completed one month later as alteration work will be required for the westbound carriageway to connect with the Rumsey Street Flyover.

During the alteration work, the eastbound traffic on the Rumsey Street Flyover will reach all districts via the eastbound tunnel and Man Po Street.

For the second phase, the tunnel’s westbound carriageway linking up with the Rumsey Street Flyover westbound will be opened.

The speed limit set for the main road of the bypass is 80 kilometers per hour, while that for slip roads is 50 km/hr.

More than a hundred CCTV cameras, along with eight speed cameras, will be installed along the bypass to monitor traffic in the area.

Not all vehicles are allowed to use the new highway. Red minibuses, those with a height of more than 4.6 meters, those carrying Type 1, 2 and 5 dangerous goods and those driven by learner drivers are prohibited to enter.

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A long queue was seen at the entrance of the bypass on Lung Wo Road at around 3 p.m. on Sunday. Photo: i-Cable News
The first stage of the HK$36 billion Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link was opened to traffic on Sunday morning. Photo: HKEJ