Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday has officially opened the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge. The bridge will connect Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.
The bridge which spans 55 km including its access roads, has been constructed for around USD 20 billion. About 30 km of its total length crosses the sea of the Pearl River delta. The bridge was expected to have completed two years back in 2016 and was dogged with safety issues. According to officials at least 18 workers have lost their lives in the project.
Designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoons and built using 400,000 tonnes of steel, the Bridge will allow ships through, a 6.7 km section in the middle dips into an undersea tunnel that runs between two artificial islands. About 30km of its total length crosses the sea of the Pearl River delta.
It’s opening will cut travel time across the delta from several hours to just 30 minutes. The Bridge which is part of China's plan to create a Greater Bay Area, including Hong Kong, Macau and nine other cities in southern China, forms a physical link between the mainland and the Asian financial hub, which was handed over from British to Chinese control in 1997.
President Xi attended the opening ceremony of the bridge in Zhuhai along with the leaders of Hong Kong and Macau.
Who can cross over the Bridge?
- Those who want to cross the bridge must obtain special permits, allocated by a quota system. And all vehicles will pay a toll.
The bridge is not served by public transport, so private shuttle buses will ply the
- There is no rail link.
- Authorities initially estimated that 9,200 vehicles would cross the bridge every day. They later lowered their estimations after new transport networks were built in the region.
“Yawn cams” to act as the watchdog over drivers on the Bridge:
- Special “yawn cameras” will be on the look-out for drivers on the bridge who show signs of getting sleepy, among other.
- To help counter potential terror attacks, there will also be "48 high-definition surveillance cameras" mounted at intervals along the bridge as well as anti-terror police patrols.
- And drivers will have to change which side of the road they are on at the crossing. People drive on the left in Hong Kong and Macau but the bridge is Chinese territory and special merger channels have been built to cope with this.