MB Jan | So many bridges between us | News to read in 2018. Or not

There are four bridges in the head of the Secretary for Public Works. Can he get to the other side?

Our reader is probably amazed to learn that four bridges will span parts of Macau in the coming years. And all the more so because little or nothing is known about these projects. All are – guess what – delayed. 

The media have basically spoken of what is alluded to as the fourth link between the Peninsula and Taipa, but there is much to decide, to design and to build. 

The situation is so interesting that there is still no project for this fourth bridge, yet the fifth is already being discussed. 

And – if nothing is escaping us – there are at least two more bridges in the hopper: the onethat will connect the artificial island created to receive the mega-link between Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai (HZMB) to the new landfills, designated by Zone A, and another to connect these landfills to the Peninsula. 

That’s a lot of bridge! 

Let’s start with the so-called 4th Macau-Taipa road link, which should be inaugurated in 2020, according to the first Five-year Plan of the Macau Government. 

By 2016, the Macau SAR Government had handed over the preliminary design to a Mainland company [see text in these pages] for MOP75 million and awarded the inspection and management of the work and costs to a Hong Kong company for MOP188 million. But in the second half of that year Beijing halted the project, which has remained dormant for a year and a half. 

The first project 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 reclaimed near the Macau International Airport in Taipa (Zone E1), with a total cross-sea section of 2.87 kilometres, with six lanes, three in either direction, and a special lane for motorcycles. More recently, it has been announced that windbreaks will be installed so that it can operate in typhoons. 

It has been reported in recent weeks that the government intends to submit a new plan to Beijing by February as the central government rejected the first version. The future connection, according to information provided by the government, should also link Macao to Zone A of the new landfills plus the artificial island of the Delta bridge. 

If the bridge starts on the Peninsula side of the new embankments (Zone A), which is an island, then these landfills will need to be connected to the city. At the end of 2016, therefore, it was announced that these works will cost MOP305 million and be ready later this year. 

But this will only be one of the bridges planned to connect the populous island to the Peninsula . . . 

On the eastern side of these landfills is another artificial island, the one that receives HZMB. And here again there will be a new bridge. All transit to Macau will have to pass through this connection, crossing Zone A and continuing to the Peninsula or by taking the new bridge to Taipa. From the higher buildings of Macau, one can see that the work is advanced, probably in time for the inauguration of the superbridge. 

Finally, the fifth link. 

In a surprising gesture of anticipation, the government announced in June of last year it would study a fifth connection linking the Macau Peninsula to the island of Taipa, made in principle via two underwater tunnels connecting the zone located to the east of Nobre de Carvalho Bridge, just in front of the Mandarin and MGM hotels, and the area between Nobre de Carvalho and Amizade bridges on the island of Taipa. According to a preliminary estimate released at the time, each tunnel would be 1,200 metres long; that is, half the length of General Nobre de Carvalho Bridge, with at least two one-way lanes. 

The government handed the feasibility study of these tunnels to a Chinese company forMOP7.22 million, revealing it anticipated a proposal by the end of last year. 

CCCC Highway Consultants 

In the midst of so many bridges (or bridge projects) someone has already reached the other side! 

CCCC Highway Consultants is the company that was awarded the preliminary design of the construction of the fourth crossing and was also chosen to study the feasibility of building the two tunnels near the Ponte Nobre de Carvalho (the so-called fifth link). 

CCCC Highway Consultants – with projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America – was also the company chosen to ensure the monitoring of the work of the HZMB. 

Founded in 1954, it was formerly known as the Highway Planning and Design Institute of the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China before being reconstructed and merged into China Communications Construction Company Ltd. as the solely invested subsidiary. The company also owns 19 solely invested subsidiaries, operating branches and five offices, including the Macau branch.  

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