Source: Hong Kong Information Services
The Chief Executive in Council has given approval for the Government to invite the MTR Corporation (MTRC) to proceed with the detailed planning and design of the Northern Link (NOL) project.
One of the seven recommended railway schemes in the Railway Development Strategy 2014, the project comprises Kwu Tung Station and a 10.7km railway linking the existing Kam Sheung Road Station of the West Rail Line and Kwu Tung Station.
The MTRC proposed that the NOL project would be carried out in two phases. Phase 1 would be Kwu Tung Station on the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Phase 2 the NOL Main Line between Kam Sheung Road and Kwu Tung stations, with three intermediate stations at San Tin, Ngau Tam Mei and Au Tau.
Kwu Tung Station will serve the transport needs of the Kwu Tung North New Development Area which, upon full development, will accommodate a population of 119,700 and generate 33,300 jobs. The station will facilitate residents in the area to use the rail-based transport system and reduce the time needed for a journey.
The Transport & Housing Bureau estimated that Kwu Tung Station will save the public a cumulative total of about 135 million hours over 50 years of operation. The economic benefits, including the time saved, are about $14 billion in 2015 prices.
NOL Phase 2 connects the East Rail Line and the West Rail Line, forming a railway loop around the New Territories and Kowloon that will greatly improve the transport connectivity between eastern and western parts of the New Territories, the bureau said.
The NOL Main Line will offer an alternative transport choice to the residents in the vicinity, reducing the travelling time for the existing population as well as the additional population arising from the developments along the alignment of the NOL in future, it added.
The bureau noted the NOL can open up development opportunities with more efficient land uses for the areas along its alignment, realising the infrastructure-led, capacity creating planning approach as advocated by the Government.
Not only will the increased transport capacity benefit key government projects under planning, it will also incentivise developers to advance their development plans with a larger housing yield, the bureau added.
The Government has invited the MTRC to proceed with the detailed planning and design of NOL Phase 1 and Phase 2 concurrently. It will further negotiate with the corporation on the project’s financing arrangement.
Construction of NOL Phase 1 may start in 2023 for completion in 2027, while Phase 2 may begin construction in 2025 for completion in 2034.