Central Kowloon Route is latest part of Hong Kong’s strategy to tackle congestion
Hong Kong leads the world when it comes to the proportion of its workers and residents who use public transport. Not only are 90% of daily commutes in Hong Kong taken via public transport, in 2018 the city topped a global report on urban transport systems by consultants McKinsey & Company.
Despite the strengths of public transportation, growth in car ownership continues to soar and road congestion remains a significant problem. Between 2008 and 2014 there was a 48% jump in the number of private cars on the roads and the Transport Advisory Committee has warned that the issue must be tackled.
The Central Kowloon Route (CKR) — which begins at the Yau Ma Tei Interchange and ends at the Kai Tak Development — is a critical part of the government’s transport strategy. Construction began in December 2017 and the route is programmed to be open and operating in 2025. It will ultimately form part of the proposed Route 6 trunk road between West Kowloon and Tseung Kwan O. Much like the Central Wanchai Bypass on Hong Kong Island, the scheme is intended to divert traffic on the East West Kowloon route through the 4.7km tunnelled route and reduce congestion on the surface roads. It is estimated that once the route is complete that travel time between West Kowloon and Kowloon Bay will be reduced to five minutes, a saving of 25 minutes from the current journey time.
The majority of the route will be mainly constructed using drill and blast methods with the cut and cover method mainly at the portals and a short section constructed within a cofferdam within the harbour. The central tunnelling project was awarded in July last year, meaning that all main civils elements are now underway.
The route will also link into the future Trunk Road T2 to Tseung Kwan O.
Due to the highly urbanised environment, the project poses numerous challenges:
- Major demolitions and enabling works;
- Congested site access for tunnel shaft, cut and cover tunnel sections and spoil removal logistics;
- Cut and cover tunnel construction through reclaimed land and harbour;
- Construction of complex interchanges to tie into existing road networks.
Contract Dispute Consultants are currently leveraging their experience in tunnel construction and ground conditions claims to assist contractors involved in the project.
Central Kowloon Route – Facts and figures
- The route consists of a 4.7km dual carriageway, 3,9km of which will be underground
- Estimated travel time between West Kowloon and Kowloon Bay will be five minutes, a saving of 25 minutes from current journey time
- Current budget is HK$42.36 billion (US$5.4 billion)
- Buildings and sites labelled for demolition include Yau Ma Tei Specialist Clinic Extension, Yau Ma Tei multi-storey car park and the Jade Hawker Bazaar
- The Highway Department has now awarded all major civil works project, totalling over $23 billion with buildings, electrical and mechanical works and reprovisioning works contracts still to be awarded.