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Traffic chaos traps Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link users in day-long gridlock

What was supposed to be a 90-minute journey from Hong Kong to Zhongshan turned into a six-hour nightmare for bus passengers
  • With traffic police nowhere to be seen, motorists left their vehicles to take photos in a manner described by one witness as dangerous





Horrendous traffic and at times chaotic management greeted users of the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link on the first day of operations yesterday.

The showpiece infrastructural project, consisting of 24 kilometres of bridges and tunnels, has been designed to cut travel time between the two cities – which are on opposite sides of the Pearl River Delta – to 20 minutes from two hours. 

However, vehicles were gridlocked on opening day for several hours, while many motorists parked their cars on the hard shoulder and got out to take photos in a manner described by one witness as dangerous and unreasonable.

Traveller Chan Kam-wai took six gruelling hours to complete what was meant to be a 90-minute journey from Hong Kong to Zhongshan, and told the South China Morning Post that she didn’t see “any tunnel staff and traffic police to maintain order.” The 76-year-old retiree was trapped with her family members on a bus with no food or toilet.

[See more: There were 10 million crossings at Hengqin Port in the first half of 2024]

Another passenger, Amy Yue, told the Post that she would not travel by bus from Hong Kong to Zhongshan by bus again. “The traffic jam alone made us waste half a day,” Yue said.

Hong Kong lawmaker Gary Zhang was on the same bus as the two women and appealed to authorities to find the cause of delays because “the impact is clearly severe.” Two other Hong Kong lawmakers meanwhile abandoned plans to use the new link in their private vehicles when encountering heavy traffic several kilometres away from the start of the link in Shenzhen.

One Macao motorist, who gave his name as Donovan, made the journey in the opposite direction, from Zhongshan to Shenzhen, and appeared philosophical when he spoke to TDM from his vehicle. “I expected the traffic jam,” he said. “Perhaps everyone thinks that it’s a major event.”

Construction of the 44 billion yuan Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link began in 2017 in a bid to improve connectivity between cities of the Greater Bay Area.

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