Funding arrangements for the long-awaited $4.8 billion cross-border bridge to western Shenzhen were disclosed yesterday after officials confirmed they had agreed to go ahead with the project. Negotiations with the Shenzhen side are under way on the design of the bridge. A decision is expected by the end of the year, a Transport Bureau spokesman said. The bridge, spanning 5.1km across Deep Bay, will link Dongjiaotuo in Shekou and Ngau Hom Shek in Tuen Mun. A six-lane dual carriageway will take 88,000 cars a day. Hong Kong will pay $2.8 billion to build the 3.2km section spanning Deep Bay in SAR waters. Shenzhen will be responsible for the 1.9km section on its side, at an estimated cost of 2.1 billion yuan (HK$1.96 billion). A cross-border working group will be set up to monitor the project and ensure both sides observe a set of common standards. On completion in 2005, the project will provide fast access between Hong Kong's container port, Shekou's port, and Shenzhen airport. The crossing will also ease congestion at the Man Kam To, Lowu and Lok Ma Chau checkpoints. Both sides also have agreed to try joint Customs and immigration clearance on the bridge to speed up border crossing. The consensus was reached after the fourth Hong Kong-Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference meeting in July. In his March Budget, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, then financial secretary, promised to improve cross-border infrastructure to develop a regional transportation network. A Transport Bureau spokesman said yesterday: 'Negotiations with local green groups are under way and we are confident the Long Valley saga won't happen again.' He was referring to the veto of the Lok Ma Chau spur line over ecological concerns. Formally called the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Western Corridor, the bridge was approved by Shenzhen four years ago but was held up by Hong Kong studies. A Shenzhen municipal government spokesman said its experts were satisfied the project would pose no major environmental threat to Deep Bay, although land reclamation would be needed.