Pomp and ceremony as world's longest sea crossing opens

Pomp and ceremony as world's longest sea crossing opens

An aerial view taken on 22 October 2018, shows a section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HKZM) in Hong Kong.

China is also home to the world's longest bridge, the 165 km-long Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge between Shanghai and Nanjing, reported the CNN.

"I declare the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge officially open", Xi said in a one-line address, as digital fireworks exploded on a screen behind him at the indoor ceremony, before leaving the stage immediately. The bridge is part of China's plan to create a Greater Bay Area, including Hong Kong, Macau and nine other cities in the country's southern region.

The mainland city of Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong, is building its own competitor bridge across the Pearl River that is expected to open in 2023.

Built to withstand a magnitude 8 quake, 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.

The bridge will not open for public transport and hence there will be private shuttle facilities for travellers.

Soon it will be possible to drive between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China.

It took 50,000 workers and engineers, 50 billion yuan (US$7.2 billion) and nearly a decade to construct the colossal bridge-island-tunnel complex. The waters over which the bridge stands now was formerly patrolled by three navies, and the land borders were decades ago guarded by the People's Liberation Army to mostly keep defectors from leaving.

Political analyst Willy Lam said the launch by Xi showed his support for Hong Kong's economic and political integration into the region, adding that the Pearl River Delta had always been the "new growth pole of China".

China set to open world’s longest sea bridge to Hong Kong & Macau

One of the two man made islands linking the bridge to its tunnel.

Li Xi, Secretary of Guangdong provincial committee of the Communist Party of China, speaks during the opening ceremony of the world's longest cross-sea bridge. "Most people will need to travel the bridge on coaches and buses", the Singapore-based Channel News Asia reported.

In response to environmentalists' concerns, the Hong Kong government established protected marine parks for the dolphins and other aquatic animals.

And drivers will have to change which side of the road they are on at the crossing. A train to Beijing from Hong Kong now would take nine hours and cost less than half the price of flight ticket.

China is ready to open the world's longest sea bridge this week, which stretches from its mainland to Hong Kong.

"I am not so sure either how the bridge can sustain itself if not many cars are using it", Tanya Chan told BBC News Chinese.

Under coordination led by the National Development and Reform Commission, the three parties conquered difficulties ranging from financing, construction, and the bridge's ship passage designs to ecological protection, such as schemes for minimizing the impact of the bridge on the Chinese white dolphin, which is under first class state protection.

The bridge, she added, is a "permanent fixture and permanent reminder that Hong Kong is forever and ever connected to the vast hinterland" of mainland China.

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