The chief of the Guangdong Province Development and Reform Commission, Li Chunhong, has said that the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (Delta Bridge) is facing many unexpected challenges, making it difficult for him to confirm if it can start operations at the end of 2016, according to
“To say whether it [the Delta Bridge] can be open to traffic at the end of 2016 or not, now that is very difficult, very difficult,” Li said.
Li pointed to the fact that the construction of segments above sea level is making reasonable progress, as it is easier to control the construction quality of those parts. However, the most complicated part of the project is assembling the 33 components of the immersed tube, which will form a 6.7 kilometer underwater tunnel. To assemble the tunnel underwater, a 45-meter deep trench must be dug before sinking the components, each around 80,000 tons, into the seabed.
The fifteenth component was scheduled to descend into the water in October last year, but was postponed due to an accumulation of marine sediment. Li said that the reason has yet to be determined even after three months of analysis.
The chief then emphasised several times that the construction is “too challenging.” In fact, he reckons that the assembly of the underwater tube is as complicated as an outer space docking procedure. The authorities are still trying to come up with an estimated construction period.