Residents give ‘positive’ views on govt’s policy of expanding LRT: transport chief

2022-12-08 04:08     BY Tony Wong    Comment:0

Transport Bureau (DSAT) Director Kelvin Lam Hin San said yesterday that according to the findings of a three-month public consultation on the government’s draft of Macau’s land transport master plan for 2021 to 2030, which was carried out earlier this year, residents generally support the government’s policy of continuing to expand the city’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) network.

“Residents [who gave their opinions during the consultation process] expressed positive views on the government’s planning for the LRT,” the transport chief said.

In addition, Lam also said that during the public consultation process, residents also placed special emphasis on voicing their opinions about topics such as expanding the city’s walkway system and the development of smart transport.

Lam made the remarks during a press conference yesterday after chairing a regular meeting of the government-appointed Traffic Consultative Council at his bureau.

Lam and other DSAT officials briefed councillors during yesterday’s meeting, which was held behind closed doors, about the findings of the public consultation and the government’s final draft of the land transport master plan.

The government launched a public consultation on May 24 on the draft of its land transport master plan for 2021 to 2030, which was initially slated to end on July 22. However, the government extended the consultation period for one more month until August 22 due to Macau’s previous COVID-19 outbreak that began on June 18 and started to subside in late July.

Lam said yesterday that the government will publish a report today summarising the opinions and suggestions gathered during the public consultation process for its draft of Macau’s land transport master plan for 2021 to 2030. In addition, Lam said, the government will also publish its final draft of the master plan today, which means that the master plan now takes effect.

The transport chief said that “many” residents gave their opinions during the consultation period. He said that 74 percent of the opinions generally agreed with the government’s plans and policies laid out in the draft of the master plan, while only four percent disagreed, and the remainder, i.e., 22 percent of the opinions, expressed a “neutral” viewpoint. 

Lam said that he was “satisfied” with the results of the public consultation, adding that the results indicated that “many” residents were paying close attention to Macau’s land transport planning.

Lam underlined that the government’s land transport master plan aims for Macau’s LRT network to reach about 24 kilometres with 21 stations by 2030. He also pointed out that according to the master plan, the government expects the LRT East Line project to be completed in 2028.

Currently, the LRT only operates on the 9.3-kilometre-long Taipa section including Cotai. The Taipa-Cotai section, which started operating in December 2019, has 11 stations.

Three LRT projects are currently being carried out, namely the Taipa-Barra section, the Seac Pai Van section, and the Cotai-Hengqin section.

The government aims for the LRT Taipa-Barra section to come into operation at the end of next year at the earliest. The Seac Pai Van LRT project and the Cotai-Hengqin section project are now scheduled to be completed in 2024.

The government launched a public tender in late October for the LRT East Line project, the bidding period of which is running until around the middle of February next year. The LRT East Line will connect the Barrier Gate checkpoint and the Taipa Ferry Terminal in Pac On via the Zone A and Zone E1 land reclamation areas. The East Line will cross the sea between Zone A and Zone E1 through an undersea tunnel.

Lam pointed out yesterday that after the central government has formalised its authorisation for the Macau government to lease a plot of land from Zhuhai, the LRT East Line can be extended to Qingmao checkpoint near the Barrier Gate checkpoint.

Lam said that after the LRT East Line project, with extension to the Qingmao checkpoint, and the Cotai-Hengqin section project have been completed, all major border checkpoints in the city will be connected to each other, namely Qingmao, Barrier Gate, Taipa Ferry Terminal, Macau International Ariport, and Hengqin.

Lam forecast that by 2030, the daily number of passengers of the LRT system will hugely increase compared to currently, adding that this will be effective in reducing the city’s vehicular road traffic pressure.

Walkway systems

Meanwhile, Lam underlined that the government is planning to build an elevated walkway system around Avenida do Nordeste in Areia Preta district, in line with its land transport master plan, adding that the government aims to announce details of the project next year.

Lam underlined that residents have given positive feedback on the elevated walkway along Avenida de Guimarães in Taipa, which came into use in June last year.

Cable car project supported by tourism sector

Meanwhile, Lam also stressed that during the public consultation period earlier this year, the city’s tourism sector and taxi sector generally supported a proposal laid out by the draft of the land transport master plan to build a sea-crossing cable car between the Macau Science Centre (MSC) in Nape and the Zone A land reclamation area. But he also acknowledged that some residents opposed the cable car project during the consultation process due to various reasons such as safety concerns and high construction costs.

Consequently, Lam said, the government has not yet come up with a final decision as to whether it will build the cable car. Instead, he said, the government now aims for civil society to continue discussing the feasibility of the project for more time with the aim of reaching a consensus.

More specifically, Lam said, the government has not come up with a final decision as to how its proposed AB Link will be built, one of the several links proposed by the government that will connect the peninsula and Zone A. The government’s proposed AB Link will connect the peninsula near the Macau Science Centre and Zone A.

Lam said that the future AB Link could be a cable car, a bridge, an undersea tunnel, or a “combination” of some of them. 

Transport Bureau (DSAT) Director Kelvin Lam Hin San addresses yesterday’s press conference at his bureau after chairing a closed-door meeting of the Traffic Consultative Council. – Photo: Tony Wong

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