Hong Kong and mainland officials and experts have agreed on the landing sites for the proposed Pearl River Delta bridge linking Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai - Gongbei in Zhuhai and Perola in Macau. Their recommendation, which will now be forwarded to the State Council for approval, is sure to please the Hong Kong side. It had advocated the Gongbei-Perola routes, while the Zhuhai and Guangdong authorities wanted landfalls on Hengqin Island in Zhuhai and at Pac On in Macau. Hong Kong Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao Sau-tung said the decision was the consensus view of the 100-strong group, which met for two days behind closed doors in Zhuhai. The group comprised officials and experts from Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangdong and Macau. The recommended single Y-shaped bridge-tunnel link would run from Hong Kong to the mainland coast near the Gongbei land crossing, where it would divide to provide separate access to Zhuhai and Macau. The proposed alignment would lower construction costs and shorten construction time despite the drawback of heavy congestion at Gongbei checkpoint, which has limited space for expansion. The 28km cross-delta link, estimated to cost US$3.8 billion, could be opened to traffic by 2010 and would make Zhuhai and Macau a 30-minute drive from Hong Kong. 'Experts have recommended the northern bridge-cum-tunnel alignment proposal,' Dr Liao said. 'The eastern landing point [in Hong Kong] is at San Shek Wan on Lantau. The western landing points will be at Gongbei in Zhuhai and Perola in Macau. This recommendation will need the approval from the State Council.' Guangdong Development and Reform Commission director-general Chen Shanru said construction on the link could start as early as this year. The group would discuss funding issues once the recommendation is approved. The Hong Kong government has said that a public-private partnership model may be adopted in funding the construction and operation of the cross-delta link.