Tackling congestion at the Lowu border crossing is the government's priority, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa declared yesterday, while expressing the hope that round-the-clock passenger clearance could be introduced as soon as possible. Mr Tung made his comments after inspecting the checkpoint, which has been the subject of complaints about delays in processing passengers, at the end of a two-day tour to Guangzhou and Shenzhen. He also denied suggestions that Guangdong officials were not enthusiastic about the proposal to build a bridge between Hong Kong and Zhuhai, saying the project was so huge it was necessary to consider the costs and environmental impact carefully. Mr Tung said: 'Constructing the bridge is a good thing. However, given the size and scope of the project, Hong Kong and Guangdong both consider it necessary to conduct a thorough feasibility study on various aspects. 'We have to study the far-reaching impact of the project in relation to ecology. We have to look at the financial aspect. Therefore, we must explore in detail the feasibility of the project before making a decision.' Mr Tung said when 24-hour border opening for passengers was introduced, it would begin at Lok Ma Chau, where vehicles already have 24-hour passage. 'There has been great progress. Container trucks are already moving both ways 24 hours a day at Huangguang. I believe that when we make 24-hour crossing for people movement, it would probably start at Huangguang also. 'We would hope to bring it as soon as possible but our priority is to ease the congestion at peak hours here [at Lowu],' he said, stressing that round-the-clock operation of border checkpoints remained the long-term goal of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. A government source said the focus was to ease congestion at Lowu checkpoint before tackling 24-hour passenger clearance. The Lowu border opens from 6.30am until midnight daily. The closing time was extended from 11.30pm to midnight in December last year. However, Shenzhen Mayor Yu Youjun, who inspected the Shenzhen side of the border with Mr Tung, said it would depend on whether there was a need for the round-the-clock opening. 'It is not a must to do so if the existing hours could cope with the passenger flow. If not, we will discuss extending the opening hours further. The views of the Hong Kong government and the Shenzhen government are consistent,' Mr Yu said.