Saturday, 24 October 2015

Temporarily Cut Off

The Kap Shui Mun Bridge and Tsing Ma Bridge link Hong Kong with Lantau
Yesterday evening there was complete chaos around 7.40pm last night after a barge struck the Kap Shui Mun Bridge, which together with the Tsing Ma Bridge, links Hong Kong to Lantau.

The collision set off an alarm that stopped traffic from entering onto both bridges and onto the Airport Express that uses this Lantau link to get to Hong Kong International Airport.

A colleague sent me texts, telling me she was trying to drive her relatives to the airport, when the police stopped them from going onto the bridge and that they had to wait until further notice.

Lots of people milling around Airport Express in Central
Her relatives were frantic because they needed to catch a flight back to London, but there is no other way to the airport -- unless one took the ferry from Central to Discovery Bay or Mui Wo and from there took a taxi to the airport.

I happened to be at IFC mall at the time having dinner and saw lots of passengers mingling at the Airport Express and wondering what to do with no explanation nor instructions on what to do.

While passengers were worried about missing flights, one could also assume that crews were also in the same boat as it were and so flight were inevitably going to be delayed.

This was exactly what happened. About two hours later, the bridge was reopened and everyone began flooding into the airport again. My friend had to settle with seeing off her relatives at Kowloon Station so that they could get to the airport as soon as possible; turns out they made it as their flight was delayed an hour.

In the end less than 100 passengers missed their flights.

Many had to wait around to see what would happen...
The incident has raised some serious questions -- most importantly -- why is there only ONE transport link from Hong Kong to Lantau? Shouldn't there be more than one way to get to the airport? What if the bridge was more severely damaged and completely shut down for days?

Last night director of Highways Peter Lau Ka-keung admitted this was the only direct link to the airport and that planning for it had been done back in the 1980s.

However this morning Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said there is a tunnel between Tuen Mun and Chek Lap Kok, where the airport is located, is being built and will be in operation three years.

But in the meantime what do we do if this happens again?

Though it's quite amazing nothing serious has occurred until now, some 18 years after the bridges were built...






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