[photopress:lgositics_bridge.jpg,full,alignright]The go-ahead has been given for the building of a bridge that will link Hong Kong, Macao and the western Chinese province of Guangdong. Price will be around the US$7.7 billion which will make it one of the world’s most expensive and ambitious infrastructure projects
The 29.6km bridge, first proposed 25 years ago (the writer remembers putting together a feature on it for the Hong Kong Standard) will connect Hong Kong on the eastern side of the Pearl River with Macao and Zhuhai in the west to create a regional economic hub.
It is expected to cut travel time between Zhuhai, in Guangdong, and Hong Kong from about three hours to 20 minutes.
The idea is to bring development to the western side of the Pearl River which, oddly enough, has almost been ignored in the boom times.
It makes lot of sense. Hong Kong remains one of the world’s most vibrant ports and the areas of Guangdong to its north are home to the factories behind much of China’s recent economic boom. Space is running out if Hong Kong is to hang on to any claim for being a green city (which, by the way, it is.)
So the western shore of the Pearl River is, to use the wrong cliche, the last frontier. But it is true it has remained underdeveloped due to its difficult geographical access.
The consortium that wins the bid to build the bridge willlbe backed by the three governments concerned when it comes to construction costs. Based on estimated economic benefits brought by the bridge to the cities, Hong Kong is to contribute 50.2% of the shortfall, Guangdong 35.1% and Macao 14.7%.
The project has drawn criticism for its environmental impact. Some very rare pink dolphins, for example, live in the delta and critics have warned that they could be disturbed by the construction. It is not thought that this will stop the project.
Public tender of the project is expected soon and the winner will operate the bridge for 50 years. And it is thought it will take thirty of those years to get the money back.
Anthony Wong, president of Hong Kong Logistics Association, welcomed the long-awaited green light. The bridge would be a huge boost to the west side of Guangdong. And he got in an early pitch about the charges for using the bridge to get somewhere. He said, ‘It’s nice to have the hardware in place but it’s useless if nobody is willing to use it because it is too expensive.’
You can get a thorough understanding of the bridge by clicking HERE to see a very full illustration.
Source: Financial Times
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