Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority Executive Director Wei Dongqing said Wednesday that construction of the cross-delta bridge was proceeding as scheduled and expected to open to traffic at the end of 2016 as originally planned.
Wei also said the authority had set up a working group to study how much to charge at the tolls and how to process travellers quickly at border checkpoints.
He made the remarks to reporters during a media tour jointly organised by the authority and the Macau Infrastructure Office (GDI) about the current status of the mammoth project. The tour took place on a man-made island known as “Artificial West Island” in the waters of the Ling Ding Sea.
The 55-kilometre bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai comprises a 6.7 kilometre long undersea tunnel running between two man-made islands – known as “Artificial West Island” and “ Artificial East Island” with the “Artificial East Island” being close to Hong Kong’s border crossing facilities.
Talking to reporters, Wei said that construction of the two artificial islands was almost completed while the main construction – including the main bridge which is about 22 kilometres long and the two manmade islands – was proceeding smoothly.
“Progress on the main construction [segments] is on schedule… although the main [segments] are the responsibility of the authority while the construction of the border facilities is the responsibility of the three governments respectively. However, all the projects must be completed at the same time,” Wei said, adding that the authority will complete tender regulations for the electrical installations of the bridge by the end of this year.
Asked by reporters as to when the bridge will open to vehicular traffic, Wei said the authority would ensure that it will open as scheduled.
“According to the original plan it will be open to traffic at the end of 2016…and there will be many difficulties we’ll have to overcome,” Wei said, adding, “We have confidence that we can overcome all difficulties as our construction team comprises experts from different places.”
Asked by reporters how much the authority will charge vehicles crossing the bridge, Wei said that officials were still studying the matter, adding that the authority would include an e-bill channel.
To enter any of the three cities, travellers will need to pass through customs and immigration facilities which are part of the mega-project.
Talking to reporters during yesterday’s tour, GDI senior engineer Lam Wai Hou said that the design for the Macau checkpoint facilities would be completed by the end of this year.
Lam said that the construction of a man-made island, which will house separate buildings to be used by the Macau and Zhuhai governments for their respective checkpoints, will be completed soon.
“But the buildings will be connected …the construction of the border facilities will start soon,” he said, adding that the Macau border facilities needed to be completed on schedule to ensure the bridge opens on time.
Lam also said that the Macau and Zhuhai border facilities will be able to handle 250,000 travellers per day while there will be 36 channels for vehicles, adding he believed the facilities should be able to cope with future needs.