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Shenzhen Bay Bridge marks new era in ties with Mainland (with photos)

    The commissioning of the Shenzhen Bay Bridge (also known as the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor) on July 1 would mark a new era for closer economic and social ties between Hong Kong and the Mainland, the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao said today (June 27).

      "The bridge provides a timely solution to the increasing cross-boundary traffic.  During the initial period of opening, the two-way daily traffic and passenger flow will be around 29,800 vehicles and 30,800 passengers respectively.  The anticipated traffic and passenger flow will increase to some 60,300 vehicles and 61,300 passengers a day in 2016," Dr Liao said.

     The Shenzhen Bay Bridge starts from the new reclamation in Dongjaotou at Shekou, where the boundary crossing facilities are located, stretches across the Deep Bay waters, lands at the north-western part of the New Territories at Ngau Hom Shek, and connects to Yuen Long Highway.
     The co-location arrangement to be adopted at Shenzhen Bay Port (SZBP), the first of its kind to be implemented at control points, will provide convenient and efficient services to passengers and vehicles in a better environment.

     "This new cross-boundary link is expected to bring a net economic benefit of $175 billion over the 20-year planning horizon from 2000 to 2020.  By alleviating traffic pressure particularly at the three nearly saturated existing vehicular boundary crossings at Lok Ma Chau, Man Kam To and Sha Tau Kok, it will boost further economic development, in the areas of finance, logistics and tourism," Dr Liao said.

     The 5.5km-long bridge is in the form of elevated viaducts and cable-stayed bridges.  The Hong Kong section runs for 3.5km and was constructed by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government at a project cost of $3.2 billion.  The remaining 2 km of the bridge was built by the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government.

     Dr Liao pointed out that close co-operation between the two territories could be found in the design of the Shenzhen Bay Bridge.

     "The design concept has been worked out between the HKSAR and the Shenzhen authorities.  The towers of the two cable-stayed bridges are inclined towards each other, pulling their approach viaducts towards the boundary.  It symbolises the wish of people in the two regions to build a synergistic relationship to greater prosperity.  The bridge with its single inclined tower cable-stayed bridges and viaducts will become a prominent landmark at Deep Bay," she said.

     The efficient completion of Shenzhen Bay Bridge and Shenzhen Bay Port demonstrates the professionalism and close co-ordination of all the colleagues of relevant government bureaus and departments, which include the Security Bureau, Environment, Transport and Works Bureau, Architectural Services Department, Customs and Excise Department, Environmental Protection Department, Highways Department, Immigration Department, Police Force, and Transport Department.

     "We started construction of the bridge in August, 2003, and the deck structures of the Shenzhen and Hong Kong sections were connected in January, 2006.

     "All colleagues involved in this project have devoted their effort in bringing this spectacular bridge and the innovative concept of co-location from the drawing board to fruition within a very short time," Dr Liao said.

     Despite the fact that construction works was carried out at full speed, the Government spared no effort in protecting the environment, in particular Deep Bay, which is an area of high ecological value.

     "Starting as early as the planning stage, extensive consultations with green groups were carried out and their views were taken into account.

     "The main contractor, Gammon-Skanska-MBEC Joint Venture, implemented all the environmental mitigation measures listed in the environmental permit to protect the water quality and the environment in the Deep Bay area," Dr Liao said.

     To enable the transportation of construction materials over mudflats without polluting the area, a 1.8km long, nine-metre wide temporary steel bridge, the largest of its kind in Hong Kong, was built.

     "Environmentally-friendly measures were put in place during construction to protect water quality, including constructing bridge piers inside cofferdams, using closed grab dredgers and deploying silt curtains to prevent the escape of sediment during dredging, " she added.

     In fact, the bridge project has brought long-term benefits to Deep Bay's ecosystem.  A water channel connecting Gei Wais at the Mai Po Ramsar Site to Deep Bay has been desilted to improve the water exchange rate to Gei Wais and enhance the feeding ground for birds.

     "The construction of the Shenzhen Bay Bridge has proved that natural environment can be preserved when comprehensive mitigation measures, coupled with good design and site practices, are implemented," Dr Liao said.

     With the commissioning of the bridge, the Customs and Excise Department, Highways Department, Immigration Department, Police Force, and Transport Department would continue their collaboration to ensure the smooth traffic and passenger flow, Dr Liao said.

Ends/Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Issued at HKT 15:22


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