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Cross-sea bridge work moves ahead
( 2003-08-29 07:09) (China Daily)

A ground-breaking ceremony was launched Thursday for construction of the Shenzhen side of a cross-sea bridge with road links known as the Western Corridor.

Hong Kong has already begun work on the other end of this major new link scheduled to open in late 2005.

Co-funded by the Shenzhen municipal government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the corridor will be the fourth transport linking boundary between the two places.

Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan, who presided over the event, stressed Beijing's support of Hong Kong's economic development and cross-border collaboration.

"The central government attaches great importance to the economic co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province," he said.

In particular, Beijing places very high regard in the Hong Kong economy and will render further services and support to the SAR whenever necessary.

Zeng said the State Council rarely sent officials to attend opening ceremonies of construction projects.

But it sent him to attend the event in support of the two jurisdictions' co-operation, he said, adding that the early construction of the road link will be beneficial to both Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.

The new road link is expected to boost the mutual development of Hong Kong and the mainland, and, in particular, to further hone the competitive edge of the Pearl River Delta region, said Huang Huahua, governor of Guangdong Province.

The new bridge will also boost development of finance, logistics and tourism, and better position Hong Kong as the hub of the Pearl River Delta, Huang said.

His remarks were echoed by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa.

Economic and trade co-operation between Hong Kong and the mainland has been significantly upgraded in the wake of the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and the sixth Guangdong-Hong Kong joint conference earlier this month, Tung said.

"The increasingly close communications between Hong Kong and the mainland have intensified the cross-boundary traffic demand, making a new corridor essential," he said.

Traffic volume between Hong Kong and Shenzhen has increased by 5 per cent on a year-on-year basis over the past five years, and official statistics indicate an average of 42,000 vehicles crossing the border each day.

Daily Hong Kong-Shenzhen traffic volume is expected to reach 65,000 vehicles in 2006. The new bridge is expected to handle an additional 80,000 vehicles daily, bringing the total vehicle volume to 122,000.

On the Hong Kong side, the bridge will be extended by a connecting road, Deep Bay Link. Construction of the connection began in June.

"To build the Shenzhen Western Corridor, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and regional express rail link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, we will fulfil our common goal of transforming the Greater Pearl River Delta into the most vibrant and competitive international economic zone in the world," the chief executive said.

A glimpse of the corridor

  • The 5-kilometre "Western Corridor" will consist of a dual 3-lane express bridge spanning Deep Bay. The Hong Kong section will run for 3.2 kilometres.
  • The boundary crossing will connect Shekou in Shenzhen and the western part of Hong Kong.
  • Opening to traffic in 2005, it will have a capacity of about 80,000 vehicles daily.
  • Investment on the part of the Shenzhen side is budgeted at 1.57 billion yuan (US$189.16 million), while that of the Hong Kong side at HK$2.7 billion (US$346.15 million).
  • Construction of the Hong Kong portion of the road has begun, but work on the Shenzhen side officially started Thursday.
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