By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The newest route and station design of the Cotai and border section of the Light rail transit (LRT) are now on display at Flower City Garden in Taipa until June 12.
The Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) announced the proposal in a press conference on Saturday.
According to GIT chief Lei Chan Tong, the tenders for the civil construction of the entire Taipa and Cotai sections of the LRT route will begin in the third quarter of this year, whilst the civil construction of the Macau section is expected to follow in the first half of 2012.
The Cotai and border route covers the west side of the Cotai Strip (the roads between Galaxy Macau and the Venetian Resort Hotel), the Lotus Flower Port, the Macau Dome, the east side of Cotai (City of Dreams), the Macau University of Science and Technology, the airport as well as the Pac On ferry terminal.
Lei said the office will maintain “close coordination” with traffic, environmental protection and city planning departments during the related construction in order to minimise the impacts on the daily lives of the public.
Furthermore, in response to the expected growing demand for public transportation after the Seac Pai Van public housing is completed at the end of 2012, Lei said a light rail station has been reserved in this community, but in the early period only connecting buses can transport people between the residential quarter and the nearest light rail station.
According to the GIT chief, the stations are one of the most important components of the LRT and those at the Cotai and border section will be able to provide “convenient and high quality” public transportation to residents and tourists who need to travel to any of the main borders in Macau.
A model of the station design is on display at Flower City Garden and Lei has called on residents to give their views during the exhibition period.
Residents against NAPE route
On the other hand, around 40 residents from Rua de Londres and Rua Cidade do Porto in NAPE submitted a petition letter to the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) yesterday, claiming that the GIT had never consulted them about changing the original LRT route from in front of the Kun Iam Statue to the “internal streets”.
President of the Macau Community Development Association, Chen Lien Chin, who organised the event, said the route was changed to go through Rua de Londres and Rua Cidade do Porto because the government wants to “make sure that the two big land parcels behind Wan Yu Villas and Chu Kong Building […] can be merged with the zone B of the new reclaimed land for businesspeople to build commercial/residential buildings” in the future.
Another concerned resident, Ms Choi, accused the GIT of having organised “fake consultations” which were attended only by the “elderly and children, or even residents from the northern district”.
The group believes that having built light rail tracks in the “narrow” Rua de Londres and Rua Cidade do Porto would put resident lives in danger in the case of fire.
The residents afterwards marched to Government Headquarters with banners and placards, urging the administration to change the NAPE route back to the original plan.