The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) is set to open for public use on Wednesday, but not all private cars allowed to cross the border are free to use it.
On Monday, the eve of the opening ceremony for the mega bridge in Zhuhai, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said private vehicles under regular quotas for boundary crossings will be subject to a special quota, which is being implemented to control traffic on the mega bridge, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Lawmaker Lo Wai-kwok of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, who represents the engineering constituency, said at a meeting of the Legislative Council’s Panel on Economic Development on Monday that Hongkongers have no clear idea of how to use the HZMB, including those who own cross-boundary vehicle licenses.
Lo said information on the use of the bridge is so confusing that owners of such vehicles do not know if they can just drive over the bridge or if they have to wait before they can do so.
In response to Lo’s questions, Chan clarified that all cross-boundary private vehicles in Hong Kong must obtain approvals under a quota system designed for the HZMB.
The purpose of the quota is to ensure smooth road traffic in North Lantau and between the airport and downtown areas, he said.
Currently, there are more than 30,000 cross-boundary private vehicles, and so there is a need to manage their access to the bridge, Chan said.
The bridge will have an initial quota of 5,000 vehicles, after which another 3,000 will be added, followed by another 2,000, depending on traffic conditions, the transport chief said.
So the quota for the first phase of the HZMB operation is 10,000.
The rest of the vehicles with cross-boundary licenses may have to wait for months before they are allowed to cross the bridge.
Meanwhile, the Transport Department said police will remove the barriers set up at Chek Lap Kok Road on Airport Island and at Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link (Southern Connection) for vehicular access to the Hong Kong Port of the HZMB at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday before services commence at 9 a.m.
Shuttle buses going to Zhuhai and Macau will start their trips at 9:15 a.m.
Hongkong Post announced the release of a set of special stamps to mark the opening of the bridge, together with associated philatelic products, on Oct. 30.
The design of the four-stamp set highlights the Chinese and English names of the HZMB, namely the letter “H” (for Hong Kong) and the Chinese character for “Kong”, the letter “Z” (for Zhuhai) and the Chinese character for “Zhu”, the letter “M” (for Macao) and the first character of the Chinese name of Macao, as well as the letter “B” (for “Bridge”) and the Chinese character for “bridge”. The stamps are priced at HK$2, HK$3.7, HK$4.9 and HK$5, respectively.
These English letters and Chinese characters are interwoven with a grid-like pattern in the background to symbolize the seamlessly knitted highway network that promotes the integration of the cities within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hongkong Post said.
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