Transportation infrastructure linking Hengqin, Zhuhai, and Macao has been continuously optimized since the Overall Plan for the Construction of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin was launched on Sept 5, 2021.
Projects such as the Shizimen Tunnel, the Hengqin Bridge, the Hengqin Tunnel, and the Hengqin Second Bridge have established vital connections between Hengqin and Zhuhai. The interconnectivity between Macao and the Chinese mainland is further enhanced by various projects that connect cities on both sides of the Pearl River. These include the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Guangzhou-Macao Expressway, and the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Rail. Ongoing projects that also fall into this category are Phase II of the Airport Urban Rail Transit project, the Guangzhou-Zhuhai (Macao) High-Speed Rail, and the Hengqin extension line of the Macao Light Rail.
In the first four months of this year, the number of Macao residents entering and exiting through the Hengqin Checkpoint reached 1.33 million, a 92-percent increase compared to the previous year. The number of Macao residents living and working in Hengqin has climbed to 7,218.
The Cooperation Zone has completed the development of a unified one-stop inspection platform for passenger and cargo vehicles traveling through the Hengqin Checkpoint, optimizing its rapid customs clearance process and reducing the clearance time by 30 percent.
At the same time, the bridge connecting the University of Macau and Hengqin Checkpoint has passed final inspections, and the second phase of Hengqin Checkpoint has entered trial operation, providing more convenient conditions for Macao residents to cross the boundary in Hengqin.
New bridge connecting University of Macau and Hengqin Checkpoint. [Photo provided to Zhuhai Media Group]
Hengqin has fully lifted its restriction on non-commercial single-plate vehicles from Macao, with about 15,000 qualified vehicles being eligible to enter and exit Hengqin at present. The number of cross-border free shuttle bus routes has increased to 14, with 43 round trips per day.
Statistics from the Hengqin Frontier Inspection Station show that in the first half of this year, the number of vehicles crossing the border through the Hengqin Checkpoint exceeded 920,000, with approximately 660,000 being single license plates. This is a year-on-year increase of 61.4 percent and 73.7 percent, respectively.
Phase III of the Hengqin Checkpoint project, the extension of the Macao Light Rail to the Hengqin Checkpoint, is an important supporting project for transferring between the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Rail and the Macao Light Rail. The project is currently undergoing comprehensive railway system construction, preparing to open to the public before 2025.
The plan entails the introduction of various transportation modes, such as high-speed rail, urban rail, light rail, and smart transportation systems in Hengqin, in addition to the existing checkpoints, terminals, and intercity transportation systems.
The recently opened Hengqin high-speed rail station and its supporting rail transit project aim to create an integrated transportation hub in the center of Hengqin, as the station will be located only 2 kilometers away from the Hengqin Checkpoint. The future will witness the provision of this rail station connecting Macao residents to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, enabling convenient travel towards the northern part of China.
Zhang Guoji, director of the Urban Planning and Construction Bureau of the Cooperation Zone, said that there are plans to allow Macao commercial single-plate vehicles to enter Hengqin in the near future.