Hong Kong section of mega-bridge set to open
Three sections of a key 12km highway, which will eventually lead to the bridge, will be fully connected this month
The Hong Kong section of the multibillion-dollar bridge linking the city to Zhuhai and Macau is on track for completion by the end of this year, as three sections of a key 12km highway, which will eventually lead to the bridge, will be fully connected this month.
The Highways Department issued a statement on Thursday saying the connection would mark a milestone for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge project, which has been plagued by delays, cost overruns and industrial accidents.
Two workers were killed and three others injured last month when a platform they were dismantling underneath a viaduct outside Tai O suddenly collapsed.
Since construction began in 2011, 10 workers have died and more than 600 have been injured while building the bridge, in a total of 275 incidents.
Albert Lee Wai-bun, the Highways Department’s project manager for the Hong Kong section, told lawmakers at a Legislative Council panel meeting on Wednesday that the government would not put deadlines ahead of workers’ safety. “We’ll never sacrifice construction safety for catching up on the deadline,” he said.
It was also revealed earlier that the main span of the bridge over Lingdingyang waters in the Pearl River Estuary had overrun its budget and the additional cost would be split between the three governments of Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau. All three jurisdictions have yet to work out an opening date for the bridge.
Reporting on the progress of the Hong Kong section, the government said the HK$25-billion highway, called the Hong Kong Link Road, connecting the main bridge in mainland waters to the city’s boundary crossing facilities on an artificial island at Chek Lap Kok, would be fully affixed by next week.
“According to the current progress, the Highways Department is full of confidence that the Hong Kong section of the bridge project will be finished by the end of this year and ready for opening,” it said.
The project involves the construction of a dual three-lane carriageway over a 12km stretch, comprising a 1km-long tunnel at Scenic Hill, a 9.4km viaduct section and a 1.6-km road section on reclaimed land linking the immigration facilities.
The department said construction staff were currently fitting the last of precast tunnel liner segments into the Scenic Hill tunnel. The segment weighs 5,000 tonnes – as heavy as 27 Boeing 747 planes put together.
“This final procedure is expected to be finished by next week, marking the complete connection of the Hong Kong Link Road,” it said.
The Hong Kong part of the bridge, which is costing over HK$110 billion, was delayed for a year to the end of this year amid a string of construction obstacles.