1.6km bridge to break record
Stonecutters Island to Tsing Yi connection will be longest construction of its type in the world when completed in 2008
Hong Kong plans to build the world's longest cable-stayed bridge - a 1.6km expanse from Stonecutters Island to Tsing Yi - due for completion in 2008.
Hailed as an important future landmark for the city, the government yesterday awarded the $2.76 billion contract to build the bridge to a consortium of construction companies including three Japanese firms and Hsin Chong Construction, a local company.
Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Sarah Liao Sau-tung, said Stonecutters Bridge, standing 300 metres at its highest point, would be more than an engineering feat.
'This is a defining piece of architecture for Hong Kong,' Ms Liao said.
The new six-lane bridge will serve as a crucial road link to connect the eastern New Territories with Chek Lap Kok airport and North Lantau.
It will also provide a link between container terminals 8 and 9 and the Western Shenzhen Corridor, which is being built to connect Shekou in Shenzhen and Tuen Mun.
The bridge is also part of the new Route 8 expressway, which will connect the Lantau Link, the West Kowloon expressway and Cheung Sha Wan.
The $7.1 billion Route 8 project will create 1,400 jobs, including 600 full-time positions for ongoing management and maintenance.
Ms Liao said the new project would 'further enhance Hong Kong as an important international logistics and transportation hub'.
'There will be faster access from the border to the container terminals and the airport,' she said.
Stonecutters Bridge will beat the Tatara Bridge in Japan, which is 1.48km long, for the title of the world's longest cable-stayed bridge.
The bridge will cross the Rambler Channel and link with the Tsing Ma Bridge - the world's longest duel-use suspension bridge - through the Nam Wan Tunnel and Tsing Yi viaduct sections of the Route 8 expressway.
Director of Highways Mak Chai-kwong said a car journey from Sha Tin to Chek Lap Kok would be reduced from about an hour to 35 minutes once Route 8 was completed.
An international design competition was held in 2000 to select the design for Stonecutters Bridge.
Plans for the bridge and Route 8, then known as Route 9, were first mooted in 1997.
At the time, a government study said a new expressway would have to be constructed between Tsing Yi and Kowloon to relieve the massive traffic congestion projections for the then newly opened Kwai Chung viaduct.
The study had said the traffic forecasts indicated that the Route 3 Kwai Chung viaduct would be overloaded by 30 per cent in 2006.