Protesters hit at footbridge plan

Local | Sophie Hui 25 Jun 2018

Land Justice League lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick led a protest by 100 people opposed to the construction of a HK$1.7 billion footbridge in Yuen Long yesterday.

The protesters, which also included district council members, expressed displeasure at the government's proposal to build a 540-meter-long pedestrian footbridge above Yuen Long Town Nullah, which connects Long Ping Station on the West Rail Line to the south of Kau Yuk Road, saying it is "ridiculously expensive."

The government said the footbridge would connect Yuen Long North and Yuen Long South, and also ease congestion on footpaths.

But the protesters were skeptical about it solving congestion at the bottleneck of Yuen Long Main Road and the pedestrian flow to the east and west.

Chu and the district council members said construction will last five years and cause disturbance to the community. It would also add to pollution.

The protesters said the footbridge would block the corridor between the north and south breeze path and would also result in 37 trees being uprooted.

Yuen Long District Council member To Ka-lun lashed out at the government for wasting money. "We have talked about this in the Yuen Long District Council many times," he said. "It will not solve the pedestrian congestion problem, as the real congestion appears toward the east and middle of the Yuen Long town center. Building a bridge in the west is ridiculous."

Last week, five professional construction groups - the Institute of Architects, the Institute of Planners, the Institute of Landscape Architects, the Institute of Urban Design and the Institute of Surveyors - suggested a cheaper alternative plan that would bring the cost down to HK$900 million.

However, the project manager for the major works project management office at the Highways Department insisted that the HK$1.7 billion footbridge provides value for money.

The project will be discussed by the Finance Committee in the Legislative Council on Friday.

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