The Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games (EAG) Torch Relay will be held on Saturday (August 29) to celebrate the 100-day countdown to the Games.
The torch relay will start at Kowloon Park Piazza at 3pm on Saturday, passing through Austin Road, Nathan Road, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, across Victoria Harbour to Expo Drive East, Harbour Road, Expo Drive to end at the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai.
Speaking at a press conference today (August 26) on the special traffic arrangements for the torch relay, the Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Vincent Liu, said preparations for the EAG had entered the final phase and the holding of the torch relay was to celebrate the 100-day countdown to the Games.
"People can cheer the torchbearers, either along the relay route or by watching television," Mr Liu said.
He said the closing ceremony of the torch relay would be held at the Golden Bauhinia Square. People can watch it on site and the organiser had arranged a live broadcast on television. The 100-day Countdown Show will also be broadcast live on television.
To facilitate the EAG Torch Relay, the Transport Department would, in phases, implement special traffic arrangements and adjust public transport services in areas covered by the route from 2.15pm on Saturday, the Transport Department's Principal Transport Officer (Urban), Mr Albert Su, said at the press conference.
Major roads such as Nathan Road, Salisbury Road, Austin Road, Harbour Road and Convention Avenue in Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai North will be closed during the holding of the torch relay. The Transport Department anticipated that traffic conditions in Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai in the afternoon may become heavier and more congested than a normal Saturday.
"All drivers should avoid driving to affected or congested areas. If driving is unavoidable, please plan the driving route carefully, use alternative routes and allow more travelling time. They should also pay attention to the latest traffic news broadcast on radio, television and in vehicular tunnels, as well as temporary closure arrangements that may be in force at public car parks. They are also advised to follow the instructions of the police officers on site," Mr Su said.
"Bus service, green minibus service, residents' service and cross boundary coach service will also be affected. The adjustments include temporary route truncation, diversion, service frequency reduction, service suspension or relocation of bus stops. Passengers using public transport services are advised to take note of changes."
Details on road closure, traffic diversion and changes to public transport services are available on the department’s website (www.td.gov.hk) and the department hotline 1834567. For enquiries, please call the 1823 Call Centre.
Also speaking at the joint press conference, the Commandant of Police Tactical Unit, Mr Lo Mung-hung, said that the Hong Kong Police were responsible for the safe, secure and uninterrupted conduct of the East Asian Games Torch Relay, adding that sufficient officers would be deployed to perform crowd management duties.
"We will deploy sufficient manpower along the route of torch relay to ensure proper security arrangements and contingency readiness are in place," he said.
"The force has also devised effective security measures to ensure a timely response to probable occurrences. Police officers will be deployed on board the torch relay convoy to provide immediate assistance."
Mr Lo reminded pedestrians to stay on the pavements on both sides of the roads while watching the torch relay to avoid any obstruction to the conduct of the event.
"Meanwhile, for the sake of public order and safety, people should not stay on pedestrian footbridges which may lead to unnecessary obstruction. The footbridges will be temporarily closed by the police officers on site when necessary," he said
"The public is advised to follow the instructions of the police officers on site to ensure the safety of road users," he said.
The public may watch the torch relay and cheer on the torchbearers along the route. The suggested viewing locations and time are as follow:
3.05pm – On Nathan Road between cross sections of Austin Road, Kimberly road, Granville Road, Middle Road and Salisbury Road;
3.20pm – On Salisbury Road, in areas in front of Sheraton Hotel, and areas between Shangri-la Hotel and Nikko Hotel;
3.30pm – Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade to Avenue of Stars near New World Centre, and at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazzas to Kowloon Public Pier;
4pm – On Harbour Road between Expo Drive East, and Expo Drive;
4.10pm – Golden Bauhinia Square.
People who want to watch the torch relay on site should allow for sufficient time to go to the locations as the area may be quite congested nearer the time.
Also at today's press conference was the Chief Executive Officer of 2009 East Asian Games (Hong Kong) Limited, Mr Johnny Woo. Introducing the route of the torch relay, he said there would be 65 torchbearers taking part. School teams from the 18 districts will cheer the torchbearers along the relay route to create an ambience. Community groups will also organise activities at district level to welcome the torch and show support for the EAG.
The Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games will be held between December 5 and 13. More than 3,000 elite athletes from nine East Asian countries/regions will vie for 262 gold medals in 22 sports. Both the number of sports and medals are the largest in the history of EAG.
Ends/Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Chairing at a press conference today (August 26) on the special traffic arrangements for the Torch Relay were (from left to right): Assistant Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Miss Olivia Chan; the Principal Transport Officer (Urban) of the Transport Department, Mr Albert Su; the Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Vincent Liu; the Chief Executive Officer of 2009 East Asian Games (Hong Kong) Limited, Mr Johnny Woo; the Commandant of Police Tactical Unit, Mr Lo Mung Hung; and the Adviser of the Hong Kong 2009 EAG Torch Relay, Mr William Ko.