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Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge

First traffic to cross Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge in 2018, according to Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung

Bridge was originally scheduled to open in 2016 but construction of Hong Kong section was delayed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 December, 2017, 10:11am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 December, 2017, 1:06pm

A much-delayed mega cross-border sea-crossing, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, will open to traffic some time in 2018, according to the city’s No 2 official, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung.

The chief secretary wrote on his official blog on Sunday that the three governments had been striving to have the bridge construction completed by the end of 2017.

“We shall continue to work out the border control arrangements. [Upon completion of those], we shall report to the central government for it to decide the opening date. We shall make [that date] public as soon as practicable after the decision is made,” Cheung wrote.

The bridge was originally scheduled to open in 2016 but construction of the Hong Kong section, which links the main bridge to Chek Lap Kok island, was held up for almost a year at the outset after a resident filed a judicial review against the environmental assessment impacts of the project.

Eventually launched in 2011, the project has been blighted by workplace accidents, a corruption investigation, construction obstacles and budget overruns.

Hongkongers will need to pay HK$2.36 billion (US$302 million) to cover the city’s share of the cost overrun in the construction of the bridge, the government said last week.

The 55km crossing, which consists of three cable-stayed bridges and an undersea tunnel, is part of a broader push by the central government to integrate the Pearl River Delta region, also known as the Greater Bay Area. The bridge will put the three cities of Zhuhai, Macau, and Hong Kong within an hour’s commute of each other.

On his blog, Cheung said two other major cross-border infrastructure projects – the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and Liantang-Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point – would also be completed in 2018.

While the express rail links up with the high-speed rail network of mainland China, the new control point will connect the so-called Eastern Corridor in Shenzhen, linking up with eastern Guangdong.

With improved links on both banks of the Pearl River Delta, this would consolidate Hong Kong’s role as a key gateway of mainland China, Cheung said.