Tuen Mun residents face long wait for bridge link
Tuen Mun residents will not get quick access to the bridge to Zhuhai and Macau until a year after it is scheduled to open in 2016.
The delay was due to the legal controversy over the bridge's environmental permit that had also put 70 other infrastructure projects on hold, Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng said yesterday.
Cheng told a Legislative Council transport panel meeting the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link - which would allow commuters from Tuen Mun to reach the airport or the bridge's border point on Lantau in 10 minutes - was unlikely to open until 2017.
The administration was striving to put works connected to the HK$83 billion bridge back on track by the end of the year, she said. Public coffers stood to lose HK$31 million a day if the project faced more delay.
Officials said earlier the government would pay HK$6.5 billion in extra costs following the delay caused by a legal ruling against the bridge's environmental permit, which was overturned by the Court of Appeal last month.
Deputy secretary for transport and housing Maisie Cheng Mei-sze said the delay had affected progress on the link road as well because reclamation work connecting the road and the bridge had been suspended.
Tuen Mun commuters would have to use an older route that took about 30 minutes. It is still not known whether the bridge can be completed on time. The Legislative Council must approve HK$6.5 billion required for technical alterations to make up for the time lost.
Meanwhile, authorities would limit the number of times a person could apply for a one-off driving permit to Guangdong, Maisie Cheng said. Car owners would only be allowed to apply a certain number of times within a set period in order to prevent them offering illegal services.
'I suppose if one is really applying for a licence for a leisure trip to Guangdong, one won't be applying for it every day,' Cheng said.
The overall length, in kilometres, of the cross-border bridge and its tunnels
- The longest bridge section will be 22.8km