Traffic detour in early 2024 at San Ma Lo, Inner Harbour end

Traffic will be redirected in the first half of 2024 at the Inner Harbour end of San Ma Lo in preparation for the pumping station project, director of Public Works Lam Wai Hou disclosed to parliament yesterday.

Lam attended an oral inquiry session at the parliament yesterday afternoon with his superintendent, Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário.

The government has separated the pumping station or flood management work on Inner Harbour into two sections – North and South. Construction on the northern section has concluded successfully, according to the government, while construction on the south section is currently underway.

The two sections are separated by Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, known as San Ma Lo in Cantonese and English.

Work will be carried out on the Inner Harbour end of San Ma Lo, an arterial throughfare in Macau, early next year to facilitate consolidation and connection of the two sections. At that time, traffic will be rerouted.

The current construction on Inner Harbour South has had a heavy impact on traffic, Lam said, disclosing that a larger section of the motor roads at that location will be altered or blocked off as the project progresses, although the official did not mention an exact date.

The project currently affects about one-third of the entire motor traffic area, Lam added.

In her oral inquiry, lawmaker Wong Kit Cheng asked about adjustments that the government had made so far in the decade-long disaster plan. She requested an explanation of the impact of these adjustments on the actual capacity of these projects to mitigate against disasters.

Citing government announcements that many projects designed to address disasters of the once-in-200-years scale had been halted or terminated, she asked whether existing projects will be able to withstand phenomena of a similar scale.

In response to her questions, Lam assured that all on-going projects are designed with the appropriate safeguards in place and, in addition, the pumping stations are designed to discharge rainwater.

Lawmakers also asked why the government had terminated the construction of a high-altitude reservoir, which had been planned to address outages in water supply should local water plants be out of order.

Reiterating that the Coloane and Ka-Ho reservoirs have been expanded, Lam said that the water reserve for Macau is set at 12 days should no external supplies be available. Additionally, the public works official said that the odds of a complete service break-down at water supply facilities are very slim.

He added that plans for an underground water tank at Ponte e Horta Plaza have been scrapped.

Lawmaker José Pereira Coutinho called for the restoration of the plan, citing Singapore as an example. He said that under heavy rainfall conditions, the influx of water is collected by these tanks and gradually released. Such a system would allow time for pipe networks to adjust and accommodate for the inflows efficiently. He added that if flooding problems in Inner Harbour could not be completely resolved, the business sector in the area would fail to thrive.

In response, Lam said that the government did not believe the underground water tanks were essential, given the satisfactory results from the Inner Harbour North pumping station.

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