Foundations of the 4th bridge | 30 doubts for 2019

Concerned that the three bridges currently connecting Macau to Taipa have been overloaded for a long time, and that the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge (HZMB) will bring about “a substantial increase in road traffic pressure on existing links, resulting in a worsening transit situation between the Peninsula of Macau and the islands,” Deputy Lei Chan U recently asked the government if the fourth Macau-Taipa bridge would be ready by 2020.

Although the completition of the construction work is expected, according to the first Five-year Plan of the Macau Government, precisely by 2020, the question – posed only three months ago – seems surreal, as not only have works not started, neither has a tender (promised for the end of this month) been announced. 

2019 will, at best, be the year the works are begun, once the winner is announced. 

In the reply given to the deputy, Li Canfeng, Director of the Soil, Public Works and Transport Bureau, said that the preliminary draft had been completed in September and that preparations are currently under way for the start of the project, promising only that, “in 2018, as expected, the respective competition will be held.” 

From what is known of the project, it involves a 3.5 km bridge linking the eastern side of the new artificial island of the HZMB reclaimed on the outer shore of the Macau Peninsula (Zone A) to land on reclamation near Macau International Airport in Taipa (Zone E1), enabling a total cross-sea section of 2.87 kilometres of six lanes, three in either direction, and a special lane for motorcycles. It has been announced that windbreaks will be installed so that it can operate in typhoons. 

If all goes well . . . 

In addition to the Metro / LRT-related works, the new Islands District Medical Complex, the tidal barrier and the fourth bridge, there are more works in the pipeline, to be started or completed in 2019. 

Let’s start with these. 

If all goes well, the long process of construction of the new prison facility in Macau will come to an end, with inmates transferred to the new facility. Maybe then we will know how much the new building cost. 

If all goes well, the construction of the New Guangdong-Macau Border Access, also known as the Qingmao Border Post, will be completed in May. 

The construction of the new Guangdong-Macau border access will alleviate the pressure currently felt in the transit of people crossing the border via the Gongbei post. Meanwhile, it is already known that the new facilities will provide exclusive passageways for residents of the Macau SAR. 

And finally, if all goes well, next year sees the beginning of construction on an underwater tunnel connecting reclaimed Zone A and Zone B. Spanning 1,400 metres, the tunnel will be built under the Amizade Bridge and the channel for ships and ferries. The tunnel is designed for standard two-way four lanes equipped with an emergency evacuation passageway, as well as two separate passageways underneath the lanes for escape and pipelines. 

2019 is less likely to bring news about the so-called ‘fourth zone’, proposed in the Urban Development Strategy Plan (2016-2030) in December 2016: that is, the construction of a ‘fourth zone’ transforming Macau into a ‘beautiful home.’