The final costs of construction for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will exceed the original estimated budget. The three governments will now have to chip in on a proportional basis to make up for the difference.
The construction cost of the main section in the waters of Lingdingyang in the Pearl River Estuary has topped 15.73 billion yuan (HK$17.74 billion), to which Hong Kong contributed about 43 percent at 6.75 billion yuan.
“The final cost for the main bridge will be higher than the original estimate due to some construction and manpower challenges,” admitted the Hong Kong transport minister Anthony Cheung Bing-leung on Thursday. According to South China Morning Post, Cheung was speaking during a site visit at a Hong Kong border crossing facility at Chek Lap Kok.
“So far we don’t have the exact figures,” Cheung said. “A task force formed by representatives from the three governments has already sent financial experts to assess the cost overrun. When we get hold of the actual situation we will give a full account to the public.”
When the mega project was undertaken in 2009, the financing comprised two key parts – cash contributions from the three governments and a 22 billion yuan syndicated loan from financial institutions. The loan will be repaid using income generated by the bridge after it opens at a date yet to be decided.
All three governments have yet to work out an opening date for the bridge.
“We still need to study the actual immigration and cross-border transport arrangements, such as the issue of cross-border permits, with the other two governments,” Cheung said.