Preliminary work for the proposed bridge linking Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau is expected to be completed by the end of next year, Hong Kong's transport chief said yesterday. The Environment, Transport and Works Bureau plans to seek $59 million from the Legislative Council's public works subcommittee on October 29 to hire consultants for investigation and preliminary design work. Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao Sau-tung told the transport panel yesterday that the investigation study would start in November and was scheduled for completion next October. But Dr Liao made no commitment on an exact timetable for starting the project. The bureau has identified Sha Lo Wan, south of Chek Lap Kok airport, as an alternative starting point to nearby San Shek Wan. The bureau says starting the bridge at Sha Lo Wan, where a connecting road would run south of the airport to link with the local road network, would reduce construction costs and the project's environmental impact. But Dr Liao said the government would consider technical problems arising from starting the bridge at Sha Lo Wan, such as its impact on flight paths. Independent legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip criticised the government for failing to provide sufficient information to justify why the two locations were chosen. 'I'm worried that starting the bridge would bring a negative environmental impact on northwestern Lantau, particularly if the decision is made in a hasty manner,' he said. A study by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Hong Kong government said the Y-shaped bridge should be given priority over other projects. Permanent Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan said the bureau had not yet made a final decision on the landing point.