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LCQ4: Noise barrier

     Following is a question by the Hon Leung Kwok-hung and a reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, in the Legislative Council today (March 9):


     I have received complaints from quite a number of residents in Chai Wan district, pointing out that as a result of the delay by the Government in retrofitting noise barriers at the road section near Neptune Terrance along Chai Wan Road, the residents nearby have been subjected to serious noise nuisance for many years.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  of the number of noise barrier retrofitting works carried out in Hong Kong in the past five years; where and when such works were carried out; and whether it has set any order of priority for such works; if not, of the reasons for that;

(b)  when the Government will retrofit noise barriers along Chai Wan Road adjacent to the densely populated Neptune Terrance where the noise level is as high as 75 decibels, and what mitigation measures will be implemented to resolve the noise problem in the district immediately; and

(c)  of the number of noise barrier retrofitting works to be carried out by the Government in Hong Kong in the next five years; and where and when such works will be carried out?



     To mitigate the noise impact of existing roads on neighbouring residents, it is the Government's policy to consider the implementation of direct engineering solutions, where practicable, by way of retrofitting of barriers and enclosures, or resurfacing with low noise material on existing roads with a traffic noise level exceeding the limit of 70 dB(A).  My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:

(a)  In the light of the above policy, retrofitting of noise barriers was carried out on 16 existing road sections in Hong Kong over the past five years.  Among those, construction of noise barriers on eight road sections, including Fanling Highway near Choi Yuen Estate and Fanling Centre, Cheung Pei Shan Road, Tseung Kwan O Road near Hing Tin Estate and Tsui Ping (South) Estate, Tsing Tsuen Bridge, Yuen Shin Road near Kwong Fuk Estate, and Kwun Tong Bypass, were completed.  Noise barriers on the remaining eight road sections, including Tuen Mun Road at Tsuen Wan, Yau Kom Tau, Anglers' Beach, Sham Tseng, Tsing Lung Tau, and Castle Bay sections, and Fanling Highway at Po Shek Wo Road to MTR Fanling Station and MTR Fanling Station to Wo Hing Road sections, are under construction.

     Given that the territory-wide retrofitting of noise barriers programme is massive, the Government will, as a general principle, accord priority to existing roads with the highest noise exposure and the largest numbers of residents affected and, where practicable, adjust the priority of the retrofit works having regard to new roads that have already been planned to adjoin them with a view to minimising the nuisance caused by the repeated works.

(b)  Regarding the noise barrier retrofit works of the section of Chai Wan Road near Neptune Terrace, a consultant engaged by the Highways Department (HyD) in March 2009 has conducted a feasibility study and proposed conceptual design of the retrofit works.  The earlier proposal involved two noise barriers each of about 50 metres in length and five and seven metres in height respectively and HyD originally planned to implement it as a minor works project.  After a site visit with an Eastern District Council (DC) member, the design of the noise barriers was enhanced so that it could benefit more residents who were affected by traffic noise.  Upon studying the feasibility again, the consultant engaged by HyD proposed an optimised conceptual design including switching the noise barriers to semi-enclosure and cantilevered noise barriers, and relocating the bus stop nearby to extend the length of the noise barriers.  This optimised design could benefit more residents of Neptune Terrace.  On December 8, 2010 and February 24, 2011, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and HyD briefed the Eastern DC on the optimised conceptual design of the noise barrier retrofit works.  After the optimisation, the scale of the noise barrier retrofit works of the section of Chai Wan Road is expanded.  Applications for funding of the retrofit works must follow the Government established mechanism for the Public Works Programme.  EPD and HyD will endeavour to carry out the noise barrier retrofit works of the section of Chai Wan Road according to the procedures of the Public Works Programme.

     The HyD has considered the option of resurfacing the section of Chai Wan Road near Neptune Terrace with low noise material to mitigate noise impacts.  However, given the relatively steep gradient of the road with frequent traffic of heavy vehicles including buses, low noise surfacing material will wear easily and lose its noise reduction effectiveness rapidly.  The ensuing frequent maintenance will cause nuisance to road users and nearby residents.  Low noise surfacing is therefore not a suitable option for this road section.

(c)  Apart from six sections of Tuen Mun Road and two sections of Fanling Highway where they are expected to be completed by phases by 2014, we also plan to retrofit noise barriers on Tai Po Tai Wo Road near Po Nga Court for anticipated commencement in end 2011.  The remaining existing road sections under planning will be implemented progressively in line with the procedures of the Public Works Programme.

Ends/Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:01


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