The freeway from Chek Lap Kok to Tuen Mun, the last piece of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge project, will not open until at least 2020.
Transport & Housing Secretary Frank Chan told Legco that the ‘southern connection’ – a flyover across Tung Chung Bay to the North Lantau Highway – is forecast to be finished in the first half of 2019.
However, the northern link, a tunnel under the strait to Tuen Mun, would not be ready for traffic “until 2020 at the earliest,” Chan said.
Known officially as the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link (TM-CLKL), it is the most expensive piece of the HZM project, with a price currently estimated at HK$46.71 billion, according to the Highways Department.
As well as offering a more direct path to Shenzhen for HZM traffic, it also provides a second connection to the western Kowloon peninsula from Lantau.
Chan denied that the tunnel would be impacted by the shifting tubes in the seawalls supporting the artificial island that hosts the bridge border crossing.
According to the Highways Department, the reclaimed land “had not shown any unusual settlement,” he said. “Upon the completion of the seawalls and the reclamation works, the settlement rate will slow down.”
Chan also said the opening of the bridge, reportedly set for May, was being held up by the need to speed up “clearance conditions” at the three border crossings.