Four Chinese joint ventures want to build tunnel between Macau Peninsula and Taipa Island

18 July 2006

Macau, China, 17 July – Four Chinese joint ventures have presented proposals to build a tunnel between the Macau peninsula and Taipa Islands, construction of which is expected to begin in October and end in 2009, the local government said Monday.

The four proposals vary between 1.580 billion patacas (US$205.1 million) and 2.336 billion patacas (US$303.3 million) and construction deadlines between 930 days and 958 days.

Taking part in the tender are China Communications Construction Group/Design Institute of Guangzhou Metro Corporation/China Ocean Engineering Corporation associated in a joint venture and CRBC-Shanghai Salvage Joint-Venture.

The CSF Tunnel Joint-Venture and China Railway Engineering Corporation/China railway Tunnel Survey and Design Institute/San Meng Fai Engineering and Construction Company Limited Joint Venture also put forward a proposal for the tunnel, which will have three lanes in each direction.

The tunnel, which will be 1.7 kilometers long, will bring the total number of links between the Macau peninsula and Taipa to four, three of which are bridges built respectively in the 1970s, 1990s and more recently after administration of the region was transferred from Portugal to China.

English-language newspaper Macau Post Daily, reported Tuesday that construction of the tunnel, according to officials, would improve future traffic flow from Hengqin Island through Taipa towards the Macau peninsula.

The paper also said that the future highway between Beijing and Zhuhai would be extended as far as Macau via the Hengqin area.

The measures now being taken by the government, according to the paper, aim to improve Macau’s road infrastructures in order to boost integration in the Great Pearl River Delta region.

The Great Pearl River Delta (GPRD), the biggest regional alliance in China, is a mutually beneficial economic structure that will allow the region to catapult itself to the top of China’s development leagues.

The GPRD is also known as 9+2, and includes Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan, as well as the Special Administrative Regions of Macau and Hong Kong. The eight provinces and the autonomous region of Guangxi represent a fifth of national territory and a third of the country’s population and its gross domestic product (GDP). Its population is similar to that of the country’s of the European Union (EU).

The Macau government announced, meanwhile that it plans to invest 100 million patacas (US$13 million) on construction of 15 hectares of new land fill areas in the area of Porto Exterior, which will be the future leisure area of the Macau peninsula.

The land fill areas, which are already being built and should be concluded in October, will have artificial lakes, park areas and will be fundamental for the widening of roads, as well as for opening up access to the tunnel between the Macau peninsula and Taipa Island, the construction of which will begin in October and take around three years.

The coordinator for the Office for Infrastructure Development, Castanheira Lourenço, said that the land fills would also include the buildings of the Macau courts as well as other public services, which he did not specify.

With the Wynn resorts and Galaxy hotel-casinos due to open their doors at the end of the year and with work underway on the resort owned by the MGM and Pansy Ho consortium, and the new Grand Lisboa hotel and casino complex, the government wants to prepare for an increased influx of visitors to that area of the city by reshuffling and widening roads and opening new alternative routes.

The area already has several casinos, including the Lisboa, Landmark, Waldo, Mandarin and President.

More than 8.8 million visitors travelled to Macau in the first five months of 2006, which represented an increase of 17.8 percent against the same period of 2005.

In 2005, Macau received over 18 million visitors, which was 12 percent more than in 2004.

With a total of 28.2 square kilometers and a population of 488,000 people, in 17,310 Macau and the islands of Taipa and Coloane have one of the highest population densities in the world, with 17,310 people per square kilometer. (macauhub)