Hong Kong’s new Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel saw smooth traffic flow on its first working day after opening, the city’s transport department head has said. However, a district councillor has urged the government to expand the transport network in the area to solve congestion issues in the long run.

The tunnel began operations on Sunday. The project aims to alleviate increasing traffic congestion in the area as the number of people living in Tseung Kwan O has risen in recent years.

Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel
Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel on December 12, 2022. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The Transport Department warned of traffic jams in the first days of the new tunnel, and a roundabout on Cha Kwo Ling Road at one of the tunnel’s exits in Kwun Tong saw some congestion on Sunday.

“Depending on the traffic conditions and destination, motorists may choose appropriate routes, including the Tseung Kwan O Tunnel, to travel to and from Tseung Kwan O,” a Transport Department statement on Saturday read.

“They should pay attention to the signage at the scene, and reduce speed and be courteous when approaching the new roundabout, signalised junctions and merging points,” the statement read.

On Monday, the new tunnel, as well as the existing Tseung Kwan O tunnel, saw smoother traffic than usual, said the head of the Transport Department.

The Cha Kwo Ling Road roundabout.
The Cha Kwo Ling Road roundabout on December 12, 2022. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The Commissioner for Transport Rosanna Law, said that people were mainly still using the existing Tseung Kwan O tunnel, with only a quarter to a third of cars opting for new arrangements.

“It is normal, usually when there is a new route, people needed to adjust to it, and observe the situation on the first day,” said Law.

Wilson Or, Kwun Tong district councillor from the pro-Beijing DAB, said on RTHK on Monday that smooth traffic on the first working day of the tunnel did not mean the same for the future.

Or urged the government to complete the Trunk Road T2 in Kwun Tong as soon as possible to expand the transport network in the area, as he expected that traffic congestion would worsen as more people started to use the new tunnel, and that many large vehicles such as concrete mixers needed to go on Cha Kwo Ling Road.

Chairperson of Hong Kong Automobile Association Ringo Lee, said on the same radio show that drivers should pick a lane before entering the tunnel, the left lane to head to the Eastern Harbour Tunnel, and the right lane to head to Kowloon.

“Do not cut across the lane [illegally] because of missing the exit,” said Lee. “It might cause accidents. Drive slower if you are unfamiliar with the road.”

Tseung Kwan O Cross Bay Link
Tseung Kwan O Cross Bay Link. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

A 1.8-kilometre Cross Bay Link running from Lohas Park in Tseung Kwan O and the tunnel entrance also began operations on Sunday.

There are also five new bus routes using the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel which began providing services on Monday.

  • KMB Route No. 96 (Hong Sing Garden – Tai Po Industrial Estate);
  • KMB Route No. 290E (Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate – Tsuen Wan West Station);
  • KMB Route No. 298X (Hang Hau (North) – Cheung Sha Wan (Kom Tsun Street));
  • NWFB Route No. 790 (Oscar by the Sea – Tsim Sha Tsui East (Mody Road)); and
  • NWFB Route No. 795 (Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate – Hoi Tat Estate (Sham Mong Road)).

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.