Hiram’s Highway derives its name from the Commando Lieutenant, Hiram Potts, who was in charge of its building in the early postwar days. He and his commandos laboured alongside people of the district to construct a perilous jeep track down from Clear Water Bay Road. Traffic could only move one way, and if you missed the timing, you had to wait forty minutes for the next window of opportunity. The widened road was only opened for two-way traffic just before Chinese New Year in 1960. Wynne-Potts stayed in the Marines for 36 years retiring in 1978, also seeing action in Cyprus and Malaya. His son later became an inspector in the HK Police and posed by the stone. (Gwulo.com)
Hiram’s Highway was until recent years a rural road with only one lane in each direction. However, most of the Kowloon end was widened into a dual carriageway years ago.
Now Stage 1 “Improvement” has commenced in 3 phases:
Firstly with the completion of the dualling from Clearwater Bay Road (with which Friends of Sai Kung has always agreed), secondly with the so-called “improved access to Ho Chung” which is nothing of the sort and thirdly with the unnecessary dualling across Ho Chung River past Marina Cove to Pak Wai village.
FSK has always been against Phases 2 & 3. Our counter-proposals to improve access to Ho Chung with a circular one-way system and to improve traffic flow on Hiram’s Highway with a clearway, mandatory bus and minibus lay-bys and turn-right lanes have all been rejected.
1,100 trees have been sacrificed for a project costing $1.7 billion which will take the next 4 1/2 years to complete. FSK will continue to argue that the noise barriers proposed to run the length of the dual-carriageway just outside the pedestrian pavement be moved back 10 metres onto the Marina Cove boundary. This is so that all Sai Kung residents and visitors get the benefit of the green strip and not just the lucky few in Marina Cove. Failing this, the pavement should run through the green strip behind the noise barriers and not be sandwiched between the barriers and the highway. This green strip should under no circumstances become a Short Term Tenancy buffer zone for Marina Cove.
Stage 2 “Improvement” is the continuation of Stage 1 from Pak Wai into Sai Kung Town.
At the first Town Hall public forum in 2008 the Highways Department and consultants Meinhardt gave the public several options including a third lane, a dual-carriageway or a tunnel. FSK was against any of these for the same reason; all the road needed to improve traffic flow was some sensible refinement as proposed above.
However, at a Town Hall meeting on 22 October 2016, the department arbitrarily announced that they had chosen the dualling option straight though Pak Sha Wan as being “less environmentally damaging” than a tunnel. Approx 80% of those speaking, including villagers affected, were strongly against the dualling and favoured a short tunnel.
This tunnel would run from Pak Wai and emerge in Tai Chung Hau near the golf academy. That is a distance of not more than 1.5 Km and thus not a problem in terms of ventilation and not prohibitively expensive. It would certainly be less environmentally damaging than a dual-carriageway.
FSK and affected villagers and residents will continue to fight for this option. FSK are also pressing for Highways Department to obtain an Environmental Permit from EPD for Stage 1, Phase 3 and Stage 2.