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HK-Zhuhai-Macao bridge not likely soon: official
Latest Updated by 2006-04-27 14:37:12
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A SENIOR provincial official said it was "definitely impossible" for a cross-delta bridge linking Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai to be ready in the next five years, even by the most optimistic estimates, the South China Morning Post reported yesterday.

Guangdong Provincial Development and Reform Commission director Chen Shanru , who is in charge of major infrastructure developments in the province, said he hoped construction work could start next year. But he added that the project still faced two major obstacles before the architects could finalize their design.

"One is the environmental issue. Building the bridge is far more complicated than we first thought. We have to do a careful environmental study before starting the construction work. The study would be completed by this September," Chen said.

But another issue is far more difficult to tackle. Chen said they had to work out how to share jurisdiction of the bridge with the two special administrative regions.

The three cities each have their own legal and administrative systems and authorities are struggling to decide how to establish border checkpoints and divide jurisdiction over the bridge.

"We have spent most of the last year on this issue. We have called in a group of experts to study this issue and they are still working on it," he said.

He said it was not clear when the study would be finished, but he urged the public to be patient.

"It will be a slow process, but we have to follow the right procedure," he said, adding that without solving these two issues, it would be impossible to decide on the bridge's final design. "And without a final design, we cannot predict how much the bridge will cost and how much we need to invest in it."

The director, however, said he was optimistic that they would find investors to finance the massive project.

"We have written several letters to potential investors in Hong Kong, mainland and overseas. We are still waiting for their reply."

Guangdong officials also reassured the Hong Kong public that they were fully behind the bridge project and there was no plan to replace it.

They also reiterated their stance against any so-called double-Y configuration, which would add a link to Shenzhen.

"You have my word. We have no double-Y configuration plan for the Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai bridge," Mr. Chen told a group of Hong Kong journalists who were visiting Guangdong. "And we won't oppose the bridge project, because there is no double-Y configuration."

He said such a configuration was not "the best natural design" for the bridge.

"I first heard about the so-called double-Y configuration in 2003, but since then, nobody could provide me with a detailed plan about it," he said.

He also denied that Guangdong might build a bridge from Shenzhen to Zhongshan as an alternative plan to replace the bridge project.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: Szdaily web edition
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