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Buying back Western Harbour Tunnel is the only sensible choice

29 0 5

The HK$36 billion (US$4.6 billion) Central-Wan Chai Bypass finally opened on Sunday. However, if the unbalanced usage of the three cross-harbour tunnels continues, road congestion will not be relieved any time soon.

The government has come up with a solution – rationalising traffic distribution between the three harbour crossings by adjusting the tolls. Anyone with some common sense could see that the proposal won’t solve anything. Due to strong opposition from legislators, it has been shelved.

Time is money, and most drivers favour the Cross-Harbour Tunnel for two main reasons – convenience and an affordable toll. The tunnel is at a prime location; at comes out at Wan Chai and Hung Hom, both in the central areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon respectively. Yes, a toll reduction at the Western Harbour Tunnel could provide an economic incentive for drivers to switch. However, the reduction has to be big enough to motivate drivers to take a longer and less direct route. Hence, given the extra time cost, unless the western tunnel is toll-free, drivers are unlikely to change their preference.

With its plan, the government was obviously trying to encourage drivers to use the western tunnel and the Eastern Harbour Tunnel, but........

© South China Morning Post