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HK, Guangdong Make Bridge Progress
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South China's Guangdong Province and Hong Kong are making progress on co-operative infrastructure projects during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) period.

"An important breakthrough has been made on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project," Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang told reporters at a news briefing after the ninth Guangdong-Hong Kong Joint Cooperation Conference in Guangzhou.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which will be 30 kilometers long, is seen as an important link to further strengthen economic and trade and social ties in the Pearl River Delta region.

A coastal city in western Guangdong, Zhuhai borders Macao to the south.

On the issue of boundary crossing facilities (BCFs) such as immigration and customs inspections on the bridge, the three sides have agreed to adopt the method of "separate points for BCFs."

"At the same time, study into financial arrangements is ongoing," Tsang said.

The China Highway Planning and Design Institute will be commissioned to study options for boundary facilities.

"Once the plans have been confirmed and the central government has given approval, construction will begin immediately."

To promote aviation development in Zhuhai and Hong Kong, Tsang said a cooperative project between Hong Kong Airport Authority and Zhuhai Airport has been approved by the central government.

Management of Zhuhai Airport will be handed over shortly, said Tsang, adding it was a win-win project.

"Hong Kong's public transportation facilities, including its airport and railway, are regarded as some of the best in the world. And I think that the takeover of Zhuhai Airport will further strengthen Hong Kong's leading position in terms of public transportation development," Tsang told reporters.

Meanwhile, sources with the Zhuhai municipal government said that Hong Kong and Guangdong would form a joint venture company to operate the airport.

Registered capital will be up to 360 million yuan (US$45 million), of which 55 percent is from Hong Kong and the rest from Guangdong.

It is the first time that overseas capital is allowed to manage an airport on the Chinese mainland.

In road development, Guangdong and Hong Kong are working towards commissioning the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor before July next year.

According to Tsang, the Hong Kong section of the corridor was completed by the end of last year.

"We will also strive to complete the evaluation and planning study of the corridor from Shenzhen's Liantang to Hong Kong's Heung Yuen Wai Control Point as soon as possible," said Huang Huahua, governor of Guangdong Province.

In terms of railway development, both sides will build the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Railway in the next five years. The Guangzhou-Shenzhen section started construction last December and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong section is undergoing further planning and evaluation, according to Huang.

(China Daily August 7, 2006)

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