Cultural Heritage Council Secretary-General Cheong Cheok Kio said yesterday that officials from the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) had informed them that it plans to adjust the routes of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) slightly so that the Barrier Gate station will be built behind the old Barrier Gate arch (known as Portas dos Cerco – “Gate of Siege” in Portuguese) on the periphery of the square in front of the checkpoint.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference after a meeting of the government-appointed council, Cheong said GIT officials told them the reason behind the change was because a new Macau-Zhuhai border checkpoint building will be constructed. He added that the GIT’s initial plan included building the Barrier Gate station underground, but said construction would be a challenge.
“It would be very difficult and risky to build the LRT underneath the arch. It is made of bricks and when the square was built, extra measures were taken to preserve the arch,” said Cheong.
The arch was inaugurated by Macau’s then Portuguese rulers in 1871. Its Portuguese inscription reads: “Honour your motherland, for your motherland looks over you”. The arch is a protected monument.
Cheong said the GIT had opted to build the LRT aboveground with the possibility of incorporating the station into the checkpoint. He also said the GIT’s plan was still in the early stages and members of the council would need to discuss the plan further.
Cultural Heritage Council Vice Chairman Guilherme Ung Vai Meng said the GIT would introduce the plans to the Legislative Assembly in the near future. Ung heads the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC).
The GIT’s initial plan was to build the Barrier Gate LRT station at a location west of the checkpoint near the shuttle bus station, but the plan was met with resistance from residents in the area.(macaunews/macaupost)