HK-Macau bridge tipped to open in May

The scandal-plagued Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is due to open in May, according to mainland media.

The bridge, which will cost Hong Kong taxpayers more than HK$120 billion, has been delayed by a series of problems since construction began in 2009, including shifting pilings in the founations, accidents that have killed ten workers and a scandal over falsification of test records.

The China Daily reported that the final commissioning date would depend on the completion of border facilities in Zhuhai and Hong Kong, but unnamed sources expect it to open in May.

The project includes a 29.6km main bridge, including a 6.7km tunnel which surfaces a kilometre off north-west Lantau, a 5km-long viaduct link to the border crossing at Chek Lap Kok, the facilities at reclamation at the border, and a 9km freeway and subsea tunnel connection to Tuen Mun.

The main bridge, originally expected to cost 15 billion yuan, went 60% over budget.

Envisaged in the early 2000s, supporters of the bridge today struggle to identify the economic return it will deliver for the enormous cost.

In recent months government officials have taken to describing it as part of the nebulous ‘Greater Bay Area’ scheme.

Another bridge across the Pearl River mouth will link Shenzhen and Zhongshan, 30km north of Hong Kong, from 2023.

The bridge has prompted fears over increased pollution and parking shortages in Tung Chung and additional traffic in South Lantau.

Tolls for the bridge have been provisionally set at 150 yuan (HK$182) for private cars and 200 yuan (HK$242) for cross-border coaches.

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