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New Hong Kong road undermines toll revenue

A HONG Kong toll road operator is trying to block construction of a publicly funded road which it claims could destroy its income.

At issue is a section of the HK$23.5bn ($3bn) Route 10 expressway between North Lantau and the north west New Territories intended to provide a fast western connection to the planned Disney theme park on Lantau.

British consultants Mott Connell and Maunsell Consultants are finalising designs for the new road, which runs from So Kwun Wat in the northern New Territories to the north coast of Lantau Island via a new suspension bridge.

But it will run parallel to a privately financed 10km section of Route 3, which includes a toll financed tunnel operated under a 30 year concession.

The operator CPS Company says the new road will take traffic away from the tolled section. This route has already failed to meet traffic forecasts.

The complaint is one of 500 objections to the project that the Highways Department has received.

CPS is owned by Sun Hung Kai Properties, one of Hong Kong's leading development firms, and mainland Chinese banking and travel organisations.

'Route 10 would encourage drivers to shift away from our toll highway to a free government route. We could go bankrupt. We have lost HK$800M in two years (as toll revenue has failed to meet expectations), ' said a senior executive.

About 45,000 vehicles a day use the tolled section compared with its design capacity of 140,000 vehicles.

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