Chinese officials unveiled the world’s longest sea bridge this week after nine years of construction work, advancing the country's interest in connecting three major regions.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge opened on Tuesday after China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and local officials inaugurated the 34-mile structure, which crosses the Pearl River Delta to link Hong Kong with Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.
The bridge will include a three-lane highway from northern Lantau to the Western Shore of the Pearl River Estuary and a 4.1-mile tunnel between two artificial islands along the way to prevent the disruption to sea traffic. Chinese officials expect the bridge to significantly cut driving time between the two sides of the Pearl River, helping to achieve their vision of a Greater Bay Area, as China calls the effort to knit the region’s cities more closely.
The structure required more than 400,000 tons of steel to be built. The bridge is raised to allow for ships to pass underneath. But because it enters Hong Kong next to the city’s airport, the eastern sections were built according to strict height limits, and the undersea tunnel links the Hong Kong side to the main bridge span.
The total cost of the project was approximately $20 billion. The project went billions of dollars over budget and was delayed by two years. At least 10 workers were killed during the nine years of construction, and environmentalists have raised concerns about the structure's potential harm to endangered Chinese white dolphins, according to the New York Times.
Source: New York Times / ABC News