The latest budget for the Qingmao border checkpoint project – which will consist of the Macau checkpoint building and the Zhuhai checkpoint building – now stands at four billion patacas, but the amount does not include the purchase and installation of border clearing equipment and the construction of the Zhuhai-side building, Ella Lei Cheng I, who heads the legislature’s Follow-up Committee for Land and Public Concession Affairs, quoted government officials as saying Thursday.
Lei briefed reporters after a closed-door meeting of the committee. The members of the committee had asked the officials, including Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário and Infrastructure Development Office (GDI) Director Lam Wai Hou, to brief them about the progress of the checkpoint project in Ilha Verde.
The briefing took place in the chamber of the Legislative Assembly (AL).
Also speaking to reporters after the meeting, Rosário reaffirmed that the Macau-side building of the checkpoint complex is slated to be completed in December next year.
The whole Qingmao checkpoint complex – including the Zhuhai-side building – is built by the Macau government. The whole project is paid by the Macau government, with the Guangdong government providing all the necessary support tasks for the project.
The construction of the Macau-side building is ongoing. Rosário said that the local government had yet to invite bids for the construction of the Zhuhai-side building, which will be situated on land owned by the Zhuhai government.
The foundation work of the checkpoint project – for both the Macau-side building and the Zhuhai-side building – started in April last year and was completed in May this year, after which the construction of the main structure of the Macau-side building got off the ground. The local government has hired state-owned Guangdong Nam Yue Group Corporation Limited for the construction of the Macau-side building.
Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said in October last year that the Qingmao border checkpoint – a 24/7 operation – was expected to come into service at the end of 2019. Rosario told lawmakers later that month that he had never said that the Qingmao border checkpoint project would be completed in 2019.
According to the website of the Infrastructure Development Office, the construction of the Macau-side building is slated to be completed in December 2020, as required by the agreement between the local government and Nam Yue.
According to local media reports, the Qingmao checkpoint project was initially scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, but the project has lagged far behind schedule.
Rosário told lawmakers in December last year it was unlikely that the Qingmao checkpoint could come into service at the end of 2019. During a plenary session of the legislature in March, Rosário reiterated that he had never promised that the project would be completed at the end of this year.
The central government approved in 2013 the construction of the new checkpoint at the joint request by the Macau and Guangdong governments.
The new Macau-Zhuhai land border checkpoint in Avenida do Comendador Ho Yin is situated where the now defunct Macau Wholesale Market building was located. After the fresh food wholesale market was relocated to the new Macau Wholesale Market building in the Zhuhai-Macau Cross Border Industrial Zone in Ilha Verde in late 2017, the old building was demolished to make way for the checkpoint project.
The Qingmao checkpoint will be a land border crossing for pedestrians only, the first of its kind in Macau.
In addition to the construction of the Macau-side and Zhuhai-side buildings, the Qingmao checkpoint project also includes the redevelopment of the Duck Channel, which also started in May this year when the construction of the main structure of the Macau-side building got off the ground. The channel redevelopment project is also slated to be completed in December 2020.
The Duck Channel runs along the Macau-Zhuhai border.
Speaking to reporters, Lei said that the construction of the Macau-side building was budgeted at 1.5 billion patacas, the redevelopment of the Duck Channel at 1.6 billion patacas, and the foundation work for the passageway connecting the Macau-side and Zhuhai-side buildings at 900 million patacas –so that the latest budget for the Qingmao checkpoint project amounts to four billion patacas.
Speaking to reporters, Rosário said that the Macau government only received the final detailed construction plan for the Zhuhai-side building last Friday, adding that the local government would soon invite and evaluate bids for its construction.
Lei quoted government officials as saying that the government was aiming to also complete the construction of the Zhuhai-side building in December 2020, at the same time as the Macau-side building and channel redevelopment projects.