The controversial bridge project to link Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau was given the green light yesterday as lawmakers approved HK$48.53 billion in funding. Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng pledged that construction would start by the end of the year. Despite delays caused by a judicial review, the authorities aim to have the bridge finished by 2016, the date originally planned. 'Due to the judicial review, the project was delayed for more than a year. It has now come to this stage against all odds,' Cheng said. The government said the delay might have pushed up costs by HK$6.5 billion. The funding approval came almost two months after the Court of Appeal confirmed the validity of the environmental permits issued for two key elements of the project in a ruling against Tung Chung resident Chu Yee-wah, who filed the judicial review in January last year. Construction was originally due to begin by the end of last year. The funding includes HK$30.43 billion to build boundary-crossing facilities, HK$16.19 billion for the detailed design and construction of the Hong Kong Link Road, and HK$1.91 billion for the detailed design, site investigation and preliminary work at the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link and Tuen Mun Western Bypass. This is on top of the HK$10.3 billion already approved between 2003 and 2009 for preliminary works. Cheng said yesterday that she expected the project to create about 14,000 jobs. Construction methods would change and the number of workers would rise to meet the project's compressed timetable. Lawmakers who opposed the funding included People Power's Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip, and League of Social Democrats legislator 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung.