Anthony Cheung Bing-leung Hong Kong’s Secretary for Transport and Housing, has stated that he does not envisage all the construction works for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge being completed by the end of 2016 as scheduled.
Making observations of the main construction of the Bridge with Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in Zhuhai on Wednesday, Mr. Cheung told media that the three governments are evaluating its construction progress.
“[We are] striving to finish the evaluation this year so that we can have a more accurate picture of the completion and opening dates. Currently, it seems that it is hard for all the related constructions to finish simultaneously by the end of 2016,” the Hong Kong official said.
The Bridge was originally scheduled to finish construction and be open to traffic by the end of 2016. However, the Hong Kong Government said in 2014 that its artificial island, where the Hong Kong border for the Bridge will be located, may only be finished in 2017.
Nevertheless, Zhuhai’s Communist Party Secretary, Li Jia, said in a meeting with Hong Kong’s Chief Executive on the same day that the main construction works for the Bridge can be finished next year, while the next step for the parties is to study how to make the border inspection convenient.
The Hong Kong CE declined to comment upon whether he is confident that the Bridge can be completed in 2017 when quizzed by reporters. He only indicated that the construction has many challenges as its structure comprises both bridge and tunnel.
According to Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority director Zhu Yongling, the undersea tunnel of the Bridge, which will be the world’s longest tunnel at 5,664 metres and six lanes, is more than half completed.
The Chinese official told Hong Kong’s top official that 19 of the total 33 elements of immersed tunnels have been installed, saying he expects six more will be installed by the end of the year, while the whole installation can be completed next year.
Meanwhile, Macau has not yet announced when it will start construction of its border for the Bridge. Yesterday, legislator Si Ka Lon filed a written interpellation slamming the government for hiding the progress of the Macau Border construction, querying whether the construction has started or not.
In fact, the reclamation of the artificial island for the Macau Border was completed in 2013. Meanwhile, the Zhuhai border, located on the same island, is already under construction.
Last September, the city’s Infrastructure Development Office (GDI) chief construction officer José Lam Wai Hou told local media during an inspection tour of the Bridge that the government was working on the drawings of the border building, as well as undertaking geological exploration on the artificial island.
The Macau border, occupying 76.71 hectares or 34 per cent of the artificial island, will include two passenger terminal buildings -Macau-Zhuhai and Macau-Hong Kong, receiving 150,000 and 100,000 passengers per day, according to the GDI officer.