Bidding for the design of the mega-project Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will begin on Monday, a senior Hong Kong government official said yesterday.
Eva Cheng Yu Wah, secretary for transport and housing, said the coordination office for the project will start accepting bids on Monday, and the result will be announced in April.
"The government of Guangdong Province will hand in a feasibility report on the project to the central government next month," Cheng said at the coordination office's ninth conference in Guangzhou yesterday.
The three parties, including the Guangdong development and reform commission, the transport and housing bureau of Hong Kong, and the infrastructure development office of Macao, discussed the feasibility of the bridge during the conference, Cheng said.
Over the past four years, the office has done 40 feasibility studies.
According to the financing agreement reached by the three parties in August, construction of the major body of the bridge, which stretches 29 km, will cost about 37.4 billion yuan (US$5.5 billion), 42 percent of which will come from the central government and the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
The rest, more than 21 billion yuan, will come from bank loans.
Cheng said yesterday that banks from the three places are still very interested in providing loans for the bridge.
"Their interest has not been affected by the global financial turmoil," Cheng said.
So far, the office has collected 34 letters of intent from banks, she said.
In an interview with the media from Hong Kong and Macao on November 11, Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that if work from all parties goes smoothly and if conditions are right, they will strive to start construction of the bridge by the end of next year, earlier than the previous schedule, 2010.
Cheng did not confirm the date or raise a new schedule, but said they would try to do some work ahead of the official start of the project.
"We will do some preparations as early as possible, such as exploring the seabed," she said.
It is believed that the completion of the bridge will further improve the traffic link in the PRD region.
(China Daily November 28, 2008)