Tuen Mun Road
|Part of Route 9|
|Length:||19.4 km (12.1 mi)|
|Existed:||1977 – present|
|West end:||Tuen Mun (near Fu Tei)|
Route 3 at Ting Kau
Route 5 at Tsuen Wan
|East end:||Tsuen Wan (near Chai Wan Kok)|
|Hong Kong Strategic Route and Exit Number System|
|Tuen Mun Road|
|Literal meaning||Tuen Mun public road/
Tuen Mun Highway
Tuen Mun Road is a major expressway in Hong Kong which connects Tuen Mun with Tsuen Wan, within New Territories. It is part of Hong Kong's Route 9, which circumnavigates the New Territories. Built in 1977, it was once the major trunk route linking the northwest New Territories to urban Kowloon and is known for its frequent traffic jams and road accidents owing to its early design and heavy usage. As a result speed limits have been enforced to 70–80 km/h (45–50 mph) due to geometric constraints.
The highway leads off Yuen Long Highway at Lam Tei Interchange, where it also interchanges with Castle Peak Road and Tsing Lun Road. The next section (considered from west to east) is a dual 3 lane road through the town centre of Tuen Mun, but this section is not a statutorily designated (limited-access) expressway.
Expressway regulations apply from the junction with Wong Chu Road, where it widens to 3 lanes and climbs the hillside beside Sam Shing Hui. It then descends into So Kwun Wat, crossing the rural area on an embankment. The road then rises again before descending into Siu Lam Interchange, where it interchanges with Castle Peak Road.
From here, the highway crosses the mouth of Tai Lam Chung, and starts climbing the hillsides of Tai Lam through split level terraces (the lower one being the Tuen Mun bound carriageway). The two carriageways join before bypassing the village of Tsing Lung Tau to the north. This section of road is constructed upon various deep cuttings and high embankments. Afterwards, the road crosses over the village of Sham Tseng (situated in a valley) to Sham Tseng Interchange, where it interchanges once again with Castle Peak Road.
The road then climbs towards Ting Kau Interchange with its widest section (5+3 lanes). After this junction with Tsing Long Highway, the Highway crosses the valley of Ting Kau with various viaducts, with the Tsuen Wan bound carriageway climbing to meet the split level section into Tsuen Wan. This section is characterised by its tight bends and steep descent eastbound. The two carriageways join as the highway terminates and leads into Cheung Pei Shan Road, with slip roads connecting with Tsuen Wan Road and Castle Peak Road (Tsuen Wan Section).
History and development
Tuen Mun Road was one of Hong Kong's first high speed roads, and first to be of restricted access. Its construction proved to be a great challenge for the engineers. The road had to be built along the winding coastline, and the steep terrain encountered required the construction of numerous viaducts, culverts and cuttings. To save construction costs, the road was built with narrow carriageways and substandard geometry, causing frequent traffic accidents and subsequent congestion for a long period, and as a result speed limits reduced to 70–80 km/h (45–50 mph). Another such measure was putting the construction work into phases.
Phase 1 of the road was built in 1977, being the present day Tsuen Wan bound carriageway. Phase 2, which consists of the Tuen Mun bound carriageway between Sham Tseng and Tsuen Wan, was opened in 1981; the remaining Tuen Mun Bound carriageway was completed in 1983.
Since the road was opened, there have been various improvements carried out to meet the increasing traffic demand, such as the addition of uphill crawler lanes (Tsuen Wan Bound) at Sam Shing Hui, So Kwun Wat, Tai Lam Chung and Ting Kau. The Highways Department has plans to carry out extensive reconstruction works on Tuen Mun Road that will include widening traffic lanes, improving horizontal curvatures and sightlines, and the installation of noise barriers. These works commenced in October 2008 and will be completed at the end of 2014.
Tuen Mun Road remains one of the most heavily used roads in Hong Kong, as some drivers heading to Yuen Long shunpike Tai Lam Tunnel, and container trucks use it to access the River Trade Terminal in Tuen Mun.
To enhance the convenience of communicators travelling from New Territories to Kowloon or Hong Kong Island, Tuen Mun Road Bus-Bus Interchange had been under construction since 15 July 2010. The interchange on Kownloon bound side and that on Tuen Mun bound side were commissioned on 26 December 2012 and 27 July 2013 respectively.
In the morning of 10 July 2003, a Neoplan Centroliner bus was running on route 265M of Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) towards Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long. A lorry running in the middle lane lost control as the bus approached the junction with Tsing Long Highway. The two vehicles collided, knocking the bus towards the side of the bridge. The bus broke through the parapet, and plunged into Ting Kau Village 35 metres (115 ft) below, resulting in 21 deaths (including the driver) and 20 injured.
Rescue operations were described as being the most challenging encountered by the fire services since the fire at Garley Building. This was due to the constraints at the site (a rural village sited on a steep hillside with no direct road access), and the sheer volume of severely wounded casualties.
After the incident, then-Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa visited the crash scene and pledged that the government would do all that it could to aid the survivors, to investigate the accident and prevent similar accidents from ever happening again.
The lorry driver was sentenced to 18 months in jail after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. At the time, it was the most serious road accident in Hong Kong history. He later on appealed against the rulings, which were subsequently overturned. He was then found guilty of careless driving, and his sentence was shortened to six months.
Tire burst incident near Yau Kom Tau
On December 1, 2013, a screw that protruded out of the road surface caused the tires of about 50 heavy vehicles, of which 36 were KMB buses, to burst. The incident caused a 3-hour traffic jam and a partial closure of the road. Hundreds of passengers were affected but no one was injured in the incident.
- "Highways Department - Road Works: Reconstruction and Improvement of Tuen Mun Road". Highways Department of the Hong Kong Government. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- "Kowloon Motor Bus Co. - Bus-bus Interchanges on Tuen Mun Road". Kowloon Motor Bus Co. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Bus smash kills 21 in Hong Kong". China Daily. 11 July 2003. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- "At least 21 killed in HK bus accident". China Daily. 10 July 2003. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- "High toll in HK bus crash - CNN". Cable News Network. 10 July 2003. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- "Screw on Tuen Mun Road bursts tyres of 50 vehicles, causing 3-hour jam". South China Morning Post. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
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Yuen Long Highway
|Hong Kong Route 9
Tuen Mun Road
Cheung Pei Shan Road