The Shenzhen Bay Port and the Shenzhen Bay Bridge (also known as the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor) were officially opened on July 1 by President Hu Jintao. It marks a new era for closer economic and social ties between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
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.
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 US$22.44 billion (HK$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.
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 US$410.26 million (HK$3.2 billion). The remaining 2 km of the bridge was built by the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government.
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 symbolizes 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.
Construction of the bridge was started in August, 2003, and the deck structures of the Shenzhen and Hong Kong sections were connected in January, 2006.
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.
To enable the transportation of construction materials over mudflats without polluting the area, a 1.8km long, nine-meter 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.