China Set To Open The Longest Sea-Crossing Bridge In The World

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The bridge is a major part of the Chinese government's "Greater Bay Area" project, which aims to connect Hong Kong and Macau with nine major cities of the coastal mainland province of Guangdong.

A 55-kilometre (34 miles) sea-bridge connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai is all set to open this week.

The bridge, a joint effort by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, was hailed by Frank Chan, Hong Kong's Transport Secretary, on Friday as "instrumental in enhancing the flow of people, goods and capital, as well as technological collaboration within the region".

The extraordinary design also includes a 6.7km (4mile) submerged tunnel to help it avoid the busy shipping paths over the Pearl River Delta.

Xi said last month, however, that China was still determined to reform and wanted to work with all parties to build an open world economy. "Most people will need to travel the bridge on coaches and buses", the Singapore-based Channel News Asia reported. The construction of the bridge has dragged on for almost a decade - authorities started building in 2009 - and it has been plagued by problems, including suspicions that parts of the bridge were floating away. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) Cable cars move in front of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge off Lantau island in Hong Kong, China October 21, 2018, before its opening ceremony on October 23, 2018.

The bridge is not served by public transport, so private shuttle buses will ply the route.

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"Technically speaking, we were at a loss in terms of existing long sea bridge projects that we could learn from", said Luo Dong, vice general project manager for the Island and Tunnel Project of the bridge.

On behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, expressed honest thanks and warm greetings to those who participated in the design, building, and management of the bridge.

Hong Kong authorities have defended the bridge's HK$120 billion (£11.8 billion) price tag, saying it would consolidate Hong Kong's position as a regional aviation and logistics hub. Others say the bridge is another way for Beijing to bind the autonomous administrative regions closer to China.

In Hong Kong and Macau, drivers travel on the left, in mainland China, drivers travel on the right, presenting a bit of a conundrum for the bridge.

A view of the bridge and the Ngong Ping cable vehicle system from Hong Kong's Lantau island.

Environmental groups say the project may have caused serious harm to marine life in the area, including the critically rare Chinese white dolphin. This resulted in Hong Kong paying 2 billion yuan for its share of extra costs, taking its total contribution to about HK$10 billion (US$1.28 billion). Since the bridge is located near the Hong Kong International Airport, it also had to comply with height restrictions to ensure it didn't interfere with air traffic.

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