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Design ready for bridge linking three areas
By Cai Xiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-04 06:26

GUANGZHOU: The design for the long-awaited bridge connecting Guangdong's Zhuhai Special Economic Zone with Hong Kong and Macao has been decided.

Experts and bridge engineers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions finally reached an agreement during a meeting in Zhuhai on Saturday.

The Y-shaped bridge to be built over the water will start from Gongbei in Zhuhai and end in Hong Kong's Lantou Island, where a Disney theme park is being constructed and the Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International Airport is located.

A journey from Zhuhai to Hong Kong now takes about four hours. When the bridge is completed, that time will be cut to around 20 minutes.

As Gongbei is the nearest point to Hong Kong, the location will save on construction funds.

The design will limit damage to the environment, experts said.

According to Chen Shanru, director of the Guangdong Provincial Development and Reform Commission, the design will have to be approved by the National Development and Reform Commission.

Officials and experts from the three regions said they hoped the design will soon be approved by the central government.

Construction is expected to start before July 2006, Chen said.

The agreement now reached on the design will help speed up preparation work and the early stages of the project, Chen added.

The bridge will join the advanced road network in Zhuhai, benefiting many cities and counties in the western part of Guangdong Province and even the Pan Pearl River Delta regions that include nine mainland provinces and regions.

The bridge will also help shorten the distance from western parts of the Pearl River Delta to Hong Kong.

The cities of Zhanjiang, Maoming, Yangjiang, Jiangmen and Zhongshan in the western part of Guangdong will all be linked by roads to the bridge.

Expressways will also link the bridge to Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces in the vast southwestern Chinese region where natural resources and energies are abundant.

Construction of the bridge is expected to be completed by 2010 or 2011, according to Chen.

Xian Wen, executive vice-mayor of Zhuhai, said the bridge will further expand economic relations between Zhuhai and Hong Kong, benefiting his city's overall economic growth, especially in its development in logistics and tourism.

Sarah Liao, secretary for Environment, Transports and Works in Hong Kong, said the administrative region also welcomed the design, saying the bridge will benefit Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai.

Located at the mouth of the Pearl River, the 29-kilometre bridge will cost between 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) and 30 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion).

A man-made island will also be built at the mouth of the Pearl River to help construction.

Vehicles travelling on the bridge will be able to drive at more than 80 kilometres an hour.

(China Daily 04/04/2005 page3)

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