CHINA: The world’s longest sea-crossing bridge “China-Zhuhai-Macau-Hong Kong Bridge” opens today. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday officially opened at a ceremony in the southern city of Zhuhai.
World’s Longest Sea Crossing Bridge
The bridge links Hong Kong to the mainland carries massive economic and political significance. The megaproject with the completion cost of $20 billion connects mainland China with the semi-autonomous territories of Hong Kong and Macau. The 55-kilometer (34 miles) road bridge took almost 9 years for its completion.
Hundreds of guest present at the ceremony greeted the official announcement with cheers and applause. Among the guests present included the leaders of Hong Kong and Macau, Carrie Lam and Fernando Chui, and Guangdong Party Secretary Li Xi. Digital fireworks were displayed on a screen behind him as leaders of the three cities watched.
The bridge will open to the public for the first time on Wednesday.
Time cut short
Travel time will be cut off across the delta from several hours to just 30 minutes with the opening of the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge. China is hopeful the opening will bind the regions together giving way to better future economic growth. Heavily regulated traffic using permits issued under a quota system will begin flowing on Wednesday.
Frank Chain, the city’s transport secretary said on Friday that with the bridge traveling time will decrease notably between Hong Kong and the Western Pearl River Delta region. The bridge will bring the Western Pearl River Delta region within three hours’ drive from Hong Kong.
The private car owners in Hong Kong will be allowed to cross the bridge only with special permit. Drivers will be able to park their vehicles at the Hong Kong port and get on a shuttle bus or special hire cars after going through the immigration. Shuttle buses cost $8 to $10 for a single trip depending on the time of day.
The bridge is built to resist a magnitude 8 earthquake. The bridge incorporates 400,000 tons of steel. It also includes a 6.7-kilometer (4-mile) submerged tunnel to help it avoid the busy shipping paths over the Pearl River Delta. The tunnel runs between two artificial islands, each measuring 100,000 square meters (1 million square feet) and situated in relatively shallow waters.