Shenzhen-Zhongshan bridge back on agenda
An ambitious plan to build an underwater tunnel or a bridge across the Pearl River delta between Shenzhen and Zhongshan is back on the map after being shelved for five years for fear that it could scuttle the bridge connecting Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau.
The 30 billion yuan (HK$35.49 billion) project was included in the Guangdong government's 12th five-year plan, unveiled by Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua on Sunday.
Li Miaojua, director of the provincial Development and Reform Commission, yesterday said there was no timetable yet for the project.
She added that Shenzhen and Zhongshan had not selected landing point locations and Beijing would have the final say.
The idea was first proposed five years ago. It immediately raised concerns in Hong Kong about its possible impact on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai and Macau Bridge.
Li yesterday dismissed worries that the proposed link, which will run parallel to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, would affect traffic flows on the bridge or its revenue on the bridge which is scheduled to open in 2016.
The project highlighted rivalries among Pearl River Delta cities.
The idea to build an underwater tunnel or a bridge linking the two cities was mooted after Beijing picked a single-Y-shaped design in 2004 for the bridge connecting Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau, leaving Shenzhen out in the cold.
Shenzhen had lobbied hard for a double-Y-shaped bridge with one of the extensions connecting Shenzhen to the structure. That was vetoed. Li said the idea of building a link between Shenzhen and Zhongshan had been put on hold for couple of years because the province also had to consider the requirements of people in Hong Kong and Macau.
'We regret that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Zhuhai Bridge will not reach Shenzhen, so we have to raise the idea of the Shenzhen-Zhongshan corridor again,' she said.
She said the project was needed to improve the transport network between the affluent east and relatively underdeveloped west bank of the Pearl River Delta. But Beijing would make the final decision. 'We can't predict when it will start construction,' she said.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is scheduled to open in: 2016