China Celebrates Opening of New Mega Bridge Linking Hong Kong, Macau

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Building the HKZM bridge was not without its headaches, and building the tunnel was one of them.

"I think this bridge will bring great convenience to the whole area of Zhuhai, Hong Kong, and Macau, and promote the economic development of the whole area of the Pearl River Delta", resident Dang Zheiliang told AFP. It consists of a four-mile underwater tunnel, two artificial islands and 14-miles of oversea bridge. It links the three economic heavy-weights that each have different social systems, economic structures and even languages.

Beijing sees the area as a potential home-grown rival to Silicon Valley. Britain handed over control of the Hong Kong to mainland China in 1997.

Thirty-five years ago, Wu created a sketch of the bridge over the channel and made it a proposal to the then Hong Kong British authorities, but was ignored.

A highway section above the Hong Kong waters.

President Xi Jinping inaugurated the United States dollars 20 billion bridge at a special ceremony held in Zhuhai, in southern China's Guangdong Province, attended by about 700 guests, including the leaders of Hong Kong and Macau.

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.

Hong Kong authorities have defended the bridge's HK$120 billion price tag, saying it would consolidate Hong Kong's position as a regional aviation and logistics hub.

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

At the opening ceremony, Han Zheng, the top Chinese official who oversees Beijing's at-times tense relationship with Hong Kong, proclaimed that the bridge marked the first time that Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland had jointly cooperated on a major infrastructure project.

The controversial bridge was in construction for 9 years.

The bridge, built with 4,00,000 tonnes of steel, can withstand typhoons and earthquakes, according to the BBC.

President Xi's visit to the southern economic powerhouse of Guangdong had been shrouded in secrecy, with state media making little mention of his itinerary before he showed up for the bridge opening.

Not just anyone can drive down the newly opened bridge. Hundreds of workers were also reportedly injured during the construction. Nine years on, it seems the project might be drawing to an end.

Environmentalists also warned the bridge would have a devastating impact on a remarkable and already critically endangered species of pink dolphin in the Pearl River estuary. Permits for private cars allowed to cross the bridge will also be limited initially to just 5,000. A bus starting from the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities can reach Zhuhai in about 40 minutes. REUTERS/Bobby Yip In this Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, photo, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is lit up in Hong Kong. Among them, 150 will be run between Zhuhai and Hong Kong, and the remaining 50 will be en route to Hong Kong and Macao. Without proper documentation, drivers will have to switch to special shuttle buses that cost between $8 to $10 per trip, depending on the time of day. "With the unfailing efforts of the engineering teams, and as demonstrated by the outcome of the joint trial last month, the Bridge is now ready for commissioning".

Private cars must be given a special permit to enter.

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