The Hengqin Railway Station has passed a significant milestone recently with the enclosure of the Macau side of its immigration and customs building. This happened on April 30, and the Zhuhai side of the building is expected to be completed by the end of this month, i.e. in two weeks’ time.
According to local media in Zhuhai, the station is on schedule to open on December 20, the same day as celebrations for Macau’s 20th anniversary as an SAR.
The five-story building housing the joint checkpoints for Macau and Zhuhai is the key component of the station. Like Hong Kong’s West Kowloon station, it will have immigration and customs facilities for both jurisdictions housed right next to each other. Unlike West Kowloon, the Macau facilities will be hosted on mainland soil. Moreover, the Macau facilities will include an area for processing cargo.
It would seem that Macau’s Lotus Bridge checkpoint will be dismantled when the Hengqin Station opens, but it has not yet been made clear how transport arrangements will work once this happens. Currently, transit shuttles take passengers across the Lotus Bridge, where they switch to local transport on the Macau side once they have passed through immigration checks. The new station will need to have bussing alternatives available to handle the expected increase in flow of visitors passing through once it opens, as Macau’s Light Railway Transit has not yet been extended across to Hengqin.