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Friday, April 14, 2017, 00:42

HK section of bridge set for completion

By Luis Liu

HK section of bridge set for completion
This photo taken on Feb 9, 2017 shows construction work taking place on the Hong Kong Link Road of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in Tung Chung, Hong Kong. (Anthony Wallace / AFP)

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will be completely connected this month, the city’s Highways Department (HD) announced on Thursday.

This marks the completion of the above-ground part of the world’s longest cross-sea bridge. Driving time between cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will be significantly cut – almost 90 percent according to official projections.

The Highways Department is confident the bridge will be able to open at the end of this year as scheduled

The HD is confident the bridge will be able to open at the end of this year as scheduled.

On Thursday, the casting of all tunnel box segments in the Scenic Hill Tunnel section of the bridge’s Hong Kong Link Road (HKLR) was completed and the last tunnel box segment was being jacked to its final position underneath the Airport Express Line, the HD said.

To build the HKLR in close proximity to one of the busiest airports in the world – Hong Kong International Airport – the HD said it had faced various challenges during both the design and construction stages, including airport height restrictions, limited construction time and strict equipment requirements.

The HKLR is a dual three-lane highway about 12 kilometers long connecting the main bridge in mainland waters and the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF).

It comprises a 9.4 km land and marine viaduct, a 1 km-long tunnel through Scenic Hill and 1.6 km of at-grade roads in the reclamation area along the east coast of the airport. Construction commenced in mid-2012, according to official documents.

In the meantime, road surfacing works and installation of associated road facilities are being completed as planned, according to the HD. At the same time the HKBCF works – including the passenger clearance building, bridges, the vehicle clearance plaza and associated facilities – are also being carried out at full swing, the HD announced.

Construction of the whole project began in 2009. However, a series of delays pushed back the completion date; it was originally set to be opened to traffic in October last year, according to official documents.

The 50 km-long bridge comprises a series of bridges and undersea tunnels crossing the Lingdingyang channel. It will connect Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai, three major cities on the east and west banks of the Pearl River Delta.

Being one of the landmarks in South China, it is also seen as one of the most important infrastructure elements in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area plan. The bridge cuts the driving time between the east and west Pearl River Estuary from more than four hours to within half an hour, according to official projections.

The 56,500 square-kilometer Greater Bay Area comprises 11 cities, covering a population of 67.7 million and annual GDP of $1.3 trillion, or HK$10.1 trillion.

From April 19 to 21, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will lead a delegation of senior officials and business leaders on a three-day visit to six of those cities, mostly on the west bank of the estuary – Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing, Jiangmen, Zhongshan and Zhuhai.

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