A new bridge will be built between the Lok Ma Chau and Huanggang border checkpoints to ease traffic jams, Hong Kong and Beijing officials agreed yesterday. The 24-hour border crossing there will also be launched as early as January 27. And the SAR has proposed increasing the through-train service in the early morning and late evening between Hunghom and Guangzhou to boost its integration with the Pearl River Delta region. At present, there are 14 trains a day between the two cities. The measures were agreed at a meeting between Hong Kong officials and the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing yesterday. The news was welcomed last night by the Travel Industry Council. Man For-tai, director of the Lok Ma Chau-Huanggang Shuttle Bus Service, said the bridge would help to ease congestion. Speaking after the meeting, Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said the measures would improve Hong Kong's competitiveness. 'The measures are not only conducive to business activities between the two sides but will also lure foreign investors to choose Hong Kong as an ideal place for living and doing business when they invest in the Pearl River Delta region.' Mr Tsang said the bridge would separate the freight and passenger flow at the border checkpoints and increase their capacity. A meeting will be held later to discuss its design and cost. 'We hope it will remove the bottleneck there,' he said. 'There have been complaints that trucks have to wait more than one hour to travel across the border.' An average of 26,459 trucks pass all border checkpoints every day. Of those, 18,050 use the Lok Ma Chau border. The Chief Secretary said the round-the-clock operation of the Lok Ma Chau-Huanggang crossing would be implemented before the Lunar New Year. He said the Hong Kong side would deploy 50 more staff at the checkpoint.