More links across the Pearl River Delta estuary would not supersede the proposed super-bridge linking Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau, the government says. The comment came after the South China Morning Post reported yesterday that the Guangdong government had endorsed a plan to link Zhongshan and Shenzhen by an undersea tunnel, a scheme which some mainland analysts said might render the proposed super-bridge redundant. A spokesman for the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau said a joint study carried out by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Hong Kong authorities in 2003 had already concluded that the estuary could accommodate three links between the two banks of the Pearl River. 'A link between Shenzhen and Zhongshan has been looked at, but the report concludes that the bridge should be given priority because of its political and economic significance,' he said. He said the advance work on the super-bridge project was progressing and all parties wished to finish the project as soon as possible. Anthony Yeh Gar-on, from the University of Hong Kong's Centre of Urban Planning and Environmental Management, said the level of economic development in the western Pearl River Delta did not warrant an extra link at this time. 'I would be surprised if the central government now or very soon approves the link between Zhongshan and Shenzhen,' he said. He also disputed whether the provincial authority could have final say on building the tunnel, as was reported, because such a tunnel would be a national link. 'After all, there must be a co-ordinating body and that must be the central government,' Professor Yeh said. An industry source said they had heard about the tunnel project, but believed there would be no conflict between it and the bridge. 'The two have different functions. One is a link for internal flow while the other is cross-border and has a strategic role to play in the development of southern China,' he said. WWF Hong Kong conservation officer, Clarus Chu Ping-shing, said a tunnel link in the upper Pearl River estuary would pose less of a threat to the Chinese white dolphin than the super-bridge, whose habitat it would traverse. But Green Power chief executive officer Man Chi-sum said that an undersea tunnel might destroy the river bed if it was not built with great care.