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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

An evaluation of the sustainability and challenges of the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge

Debbie Ngoi Yih Lau

An evaluation of the sustainability and challenges of the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge

The Pearl River Delta (PRD) region has been the economic powerhouse in China
following China's accession to the World Trade Organization. Local authorities are
forging ahead with many mega-infrastructure projects with a view to attracting more
foreign direct investment. Nevertheless, the growing economic activities within the
PRD inevitably bring about a wide range of economic, social, and environmental
sustainability issues.

Within the PRD region, Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai are arguably the three most
prosperous cities in southern China. A bridge has been proposed to complete this
"missing link" in the Pearl River Delta - a link that is significant physically and no
less symbolically. Ever since Gordon Wu of Hopewell Holdings' inception of the idea
of the HK-Macao-Zhuhai Bridge "The Bridge" in the 1980's, the project was fraught
with debates and opposition from different bodies, and relatively little progress was
made. Interests about The Bridge renewed in 2002, but the controversy remained. In
January 2003 Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa said that The Bridge
would be built as soon as a feasibility study was carried out, although the exact route
of the 29km bridge has yet to be decided.

This study aims to investigate social-economic issues of the Bridge in order to
promote sustainable development in the PRD. A qualitative approach of questionnaire
analysis is adopted. The objectives of this project are:
• To collect Hong Kong residents' opinions on the proposed link and the
existing transport networks to the western PRD region;
• To examine the travel patterns (frequency, mode of transport, cost etc.) of
Hong Kong residents travelling to PRD cities for work and for non business
• To investigate Hong Kong residents' views on the Bridge and to what extent
they are concerned about the Bridge's surrounding environment; and
• To evaluate social-economic impacts of the Bridge on the western PRD
In light of this study to dated, some results are deducted as the following:
1. About 33% of Hong Kong residents satisfied with the current transport
network between Hong Kong and the cities in the western PRD region, while
respondents answered "dissatisfied" and "don't know" are 41% and 26%
2. About 63% of Hong Kong residents "in favour" of the idea of a bridge link
between Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai; while 23% are "not favour".
3. 60% of Hong Kong residents said they would be more interested in visiting
cities in the PRD region when and if the bridge is built; while 40% said their
interest will not be increased even the bridge is built.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.