14 Mar 02
Mixed blessings for Hong Kong transport plans
Hong Kong Legislative Council's Finance Committee has approved some US$20 million funding for the design of the new cross-border bridge between the north west New Territories and the Chinese mainland. The 5km long Shenzhen Western Corridor is expected to ease pressure on the three existing border crossings, and encourage further development of the container ports in Hong Kong. But at the same meeting the committee refused a request for US$17 million for the detailed design of the northern section of Route 10, the proposed tunnelled connection which would link the new Tsing Lung Bridge to the Shenzhen Western Corridor. The decision leaves the region's strategic transport plans in limbo; detailed design of the southern half of the link is funded and proceeding, but the northern section was planned to be built at the same time to be open to traffic in 2007. Doubts over the location of new container terminals in Hong Kong were the main reason for the funding being refused, but there have also been objections from the private company which operates the parallel, tolled Route 3 Country Park road. The company is concerned that the construction of Route 10 will take traffic away from its highway.