China To Open Mega-Bridge And Tunnel: 34 Miles Across The Water

China To Open Mega-Bridge And Tunnel: 34 Miles Across The Water

China To Open Mega-Bridge And Tunnel: 34 Miles Across The Water

The world's longest cross-sea bridge, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, in Zhuhai city, that connects the east and west sides of the Pearl River Delta in South China will officially open today (Tuesday).

China's President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge at the Zhuhai Port terminal on October 23, 2018.

The bridge was built on one of the world's busiest sea routes, where more than 4,000 vessels and 1,800 flights travel back and forth daily, carrying annually more than 20 million people and 1.2 billion tons of goods.

For China, it is a plan to develop its Greater Bay Area in terms of technological innovation and economic success.

Dubbed the "bridge of death" by some local media, the construction was dogged by corruption allegations and reports of workers' deaths.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the bridge would help transform Hong Kong from a "connector to a more active participant".

Although the bridge is opening to traffic this week, making practical use of it may prove to be another challenge for citizens.

Built to withstand a magnitude 8 natural disaster, a super typhoon and strikes by super-sized cargo vessels, the bridge incorporates 400,000 tons of steel - 4.5 times the amount in San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

On its western flank the bridge leaves Zhuhai and connects with Macau before heading for 29.6 kilometres across the delta.

The bridge's unusual undulating structure is created to keep open vital navigation channels in the Pearl River Delta, which boasts some of the world's busiest ports. Supporters say the bridge will massively reduce the time it takes to travel between the three places, reducing journey times from three hours to 30 minutes.

According to an estimate by BBC Chinese, the bridge will only earn around $86m in tolls per year.

The bridge includes an undersea tunnel connected by two artificial islands, which allows ships to pass through the Pearl River delta - the heart of China's crucial manufacturing sector.

The Hong Kong government has issued 10,000 permits for private cars, in which 5000 permits will be issued after its opening.

The bridge was first proposed in the late 1980s, but it was opposed at the time by Hong Kong's British colonial government, which was wary of development that might draw the city closer to Communist China. It's also been described as one of the world's most unusual roadways, reportedly boasting special features like yawn-detecting cameras and blood pressure-monitoring machines.

The building of the £14billion bridge has faced fierce criticism as it is taxpayer funded in a city blighted by widespread poverty and a housing crisis.

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