Up-and-under bridge of size!

THE world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, connecting Hong Kong and Macau to south-east China, opened this week, nine years from when construction began.

The astonishing, much-anticipated crossing, includes a snaking, road bridge and an underwater tunnel, linking Hong Kong’s Lantau island to the southern mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai, as well as the gambling enclave of Macau, across the waters of the Pearl River Estuary.

The bridge spans 34 miles, and is 14 miles longer than the width of the English Channel, from Dover to Calais.

As well as the structure boasting the world’s lengthiest sea crossing, it is also the sixth-longest bridge on earth.

Officials, who anticipate the bridge being in use for 120 years, believe it will boost businesses by cutting travel time by 60%.

More importantly, it is a key component in China’s plan for a Greater Bay Area, covering 21,800 square miles, across 11 South China cities.

It comprises a 14.2-mile overseas bridge and a 4.2-mile undersea tunnel, connected by two artificial islands.

A total of 420,000 tons of steel was used in the project, which, it is believed, is equivalent to 60 times the steel used to build the Eiffel Tower.

Frank Chan, Hong Kong’s Transport Secretary, said travelling time between Zhuhai and Hong Kong International Airport would be shortened, from four hours to about 45 minutes.

He added: “It is envisaged that the collaboration between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, in terms of trade, finance, logistics and tourism, will be strengthened.”

But the enormous project has had its fair share of controversy. Construction work was dogged by delays, budget over-runs and corruption prosecutions, along with the deaths of construction workers.

Seven have died and 129 have been injured since work began, most of them involving accidents in which they slipped or fell from a high point.

The project’s total price tag, which includes artificial islands, linked roads and new border-crossing facilities, is unclear. But some estimates run to over £14 billion, leading critics to label it a costly white elephant.

Bridge supporters promote it as an engineering marvel, while others see it as a costly, political project, designed to further integrate Hong Kong into the mainland, at a time when Beijing is tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city.







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Posted by on Oct 26 2018. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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