A consortium led by Shenzhen Expressway has dropped out of the proposed Shenzhen-Hong Kong Western Corridor project after the Hong Kong Government decided the bridge will be toll-free. The consortium was formed more than two years ago with the aim of bidding for the construction and operation rights to the cross-border bridge, which will link the port city of Shekou, Shenzhen, to northwestern Hong Kong at Yuen Long. The bridge is part of a future fourth border checkpoint between Shenzhen and Hong Kong to relieve traffic congestion at the other three checkpoints in Man Kam To, Lowu and Lok Ma Chau. Construction was originally scheduled to begin this year and be completed by 2005/2006. H share Shenzhen Expressway general manager Tao Hong said the consortium pulled out of the project as there was no investment value in a toll-free bridge. Others in the consortium included the Shenzhen government-backed red chip Shum Yip Investment; China International Trust and Investment Corp; Huajian, an infrastructure arm of the Ministry of Communications; and Tianjian, also controlled by the Shenzhen Government. Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings had expressed interest in joining the consortium. A Hong Kong Transport Bureau spokesman said the project would be funded by the two governments, each responsible for the section in their respective territories. 'The bridge was meant to promote the economic integration of Guangdong province and Hong Kong . . . and [the roads to] the other three checkpoints are also toll-free,' the spokesman said, explaining the decision to make the bridge toll-free. The project will enable traffic to flow quickly between Hong Kong's container port, Shekou port and Shenzhen airport. The SAR Government will spend about HK$2.8 billion on the 3.2 km Hong Kong-section of the 5.1 km bridge, and another HK$7.7 billion on the Deep Bay Link connecting the bridge to the transport network at Yuen Long. Legislative councillors are concerned about the bridge's impact on regional traffic and existing tollroads. They are due to meet with the Government's transport bureau today.