Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge

Sixth border checkpoint to be built, says Shenzhen official

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2007, 12:00am

Traffic congestion cited as reason for extra crossing

The construction of a sixth cross-border checkpoint between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is set to go ahead to ease mounting traffic pressure, says Shenzhen party secretary Li Hongzhong .

Authorities from both sides have long expressed their intention to build the checkpoint, which will connect Heung Yuen Wai in Hong Kong's northeastern New Territories with Shenzhen's Liantang, but yesterday was the first time officials had confirmed that an agreement had been reached.

'There are already five checkpoints between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. But they are not enough [to handle the traffic flow] due to the two sides' close relations,' Mr Li said on the sidelines of the Communist Party's 17th National Congress in Beijing.

A difficulty facing the project was that roads in the proposed location were too narrow due to a high population density, Mr Li said.

'The two sides are discussing this issue,' he said. 'However, the construction of Liantang checkpoint would definitely go ahead.'

The proposal was also floated to speed up economic integration between Hong Kong and Guangdong.

However, conservation groups have warned that the heritage value of Heung Yuen Wai could be compromised if no proper controls were put in place to shield it from traffic and business generated by the crossing.

The gateway would connect to the Shenzhen-Shantou and Shenzhen-Huizhou superhighway and provide quick access to eastern Guangdong.

At the same meeting, Guangdong governor Huang Huahua laughed off a question on his views of a proposal by a Hong Kong think-tank to merge Hong Kong and Shenzhen into a 'world class metropolis'.

Mr Huang also said that the difficulty in raising capital remained a major challenge in the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which was expected to cost 60 billion yuan.

Mr Huang said a special taskforce set up by the State Council late last year had come to a decision on most of the issues on the bridge's construction although four issues, including the raising of funds, remained unresolved and would be discussed soon. He did not elaborate on what the other three were.

Responding to a new plan floated by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to build a cross-border railway from Shenzhen's airport to Hong Kong International Airport, Mr Li said that his government would need to study the proposal.

The railway was one of the 10 major infrastructure projects floated by Mr Tsang in his policy address last week.

Mr Huang also reassured consumers that the province's food supply to Hong Kong was safe, saying strict regulations and multiple levels of supervision were in place.