The Macau SAR Government is pondering the construction of a new segment of the Light Rail Transport (LRT) to connect the Ferry terminal in Taipa – also known as Pac On – to the Border Gate, in the north of Macau Peninsula, according to information provided to Business Daily by the Office for Transport Infrastructure (GIT).
“It would not necessarily be a tunnel. It could also be a bridge,” GIT’s spokesperson told us.
According to the agency created to oversee the research and development of all matters related to the construction of the MSAR’s LRT, the authorities are presently contemplating different ways of connecting Taipa and Macau on the east-end side of the MSAR territory.
“Currently, [the segment] is only at research and planning stage. It may not become a project. When we finish the research, we will suggest it to the government,” the GIT spokesperson said.
For a similar reason, GIT claimed that submitting the development of the potential new segment both for public consultation and public tender, in addition to being a decision that concerns the MSAR Government, “might only be considered” if GIT’s ongoing research becomes an approved project.
LRT via bridge
As for the previously announced LRT connection between the Peninsula and Taipa, planned to link the Barra station to the Ocean station, progress is currently pending completion of the Barra station, according to GIT.
“The under-tunnel in Sai Van Bridge has already been planed with the development of the LRT in mind. But we currently need to do some improvements,” said the GIT spokesperson.
The 2.2 kilometre cable-stayed bridge opened in 2004 has a two-lane channel underneath which is only opened under extreme weather conditions, such as typhoons, to enable road communication between the Peninsula and the island.
However, GIT says the Office’s priority is the completion of the LRT line and network in Taipa.
“We are now working on installing the train systems within the different stations,” and expect “to launch the services in Taipa in 2019,” GIT claimed.
As for the LRT’s development on the Macau side, the Office spokesperson explained that it will follow once the Taipa sub-system is completed.
“We will then move on to the Barra station and Sai Van [station], and other remaining steps on Macau side,” GIT clarified.
The LRT’s Barra segment involves two different projects – namely, the Public Transport Interchange (PTI) station, currently under construction, and Barra station, on which construction has yet to begin.
“There is no date established yet for the beginning of the construction of the Barra station,” GIT confirmed to Business Daily.
The LRT construction site at Barra has been singled out as one of the reasons leading to the ‘temporary’ closing of Pousada de São Tiago, located in the vicinity, nearly seven months ago.
According to previous comments by the Executive Director of SJM Holdings Limited, Angela Leong On Kei, in charge of the property, the hotel had experienced trouble receiving guests since the PTI construction began.
On the ‘missing’ link between the inland inter-stations segment currently named Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal and Border Gate – which came under fire during previous public consultation – GIT highlighted it is “not yet confirmed,” pending further consideration on the part of the authorities, with the option of launching a new public consultation “not yet being considered.”
Contacted by Business Daily, the Office for the Development of Infrastructure (GDI) did not confirm if GIT’s study proposal for an extension of the LRT line on the east side of the MSAR would be connected to the fourth bridge project already approved by the government – although currently suspended – or would rather entail the construction of a fifth bridge.
The project for the fourth bridge linking the artificial island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge reclaimed on the outer shore of the Macau Peninsula (linked to Zone A) to land reclaimed near the Macau International Airport in Taipa (Zone E1), was halted in mid-August after the proposal was slammed by the central government and put on hold pending further studies on the safety conditions of its waterways.
Beijing’s decision came after the MSAR Government had already granted a contract worth MOP189 million to Ove Arup & Partners Limited to oversee and manage the project and the budget for the construction of the bridge.
In September 2016, the MSAR Government announced that it had inked a contract with CCCC Highway Consultants Co., Ltd., a Mainland China-based infrastructure design company, for the initial design of the fourth Macau-Taipa connection project.
The project involves a 3.5 kilometre bridge with a total cross-sea section of 2.87 kilometres, per GDI.
The Office for the Secretary of Land, Public Works, and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) has received our questions and pledged to issue a response “soon.”