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Connecting China, Hong Kong

23 October 2018

The 55-kilometer long bridge (34 miles) will cut travel time from Hong Kong to Zhuhai (in China's southern Guangdong province) from three hours to 30 minutes.

The bridge was scheduled to be launched in 2016 but the project was held up due to various problems including a judicial review on environmental factors, corruption, workplace accidents, cost overruns and safety concerns.

If you're not a total wuss when it comes to the heady combo of deep sea, heights and creaking piers, maybe this new bridge might be one you can tackle - as it's the longest sea-crossing one in the world.

A 4-mile (6.4 kilometre) underwater tunnel connects two artificial islands, which help support the structure.

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It was known as the "bridge of death" among some local media outlets, with officials saying at least 18 workers had died during construction, according to the BBC.

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

Officials are billing the 55km bridge as a key part of the Greater Bay Area plan, a campaign to connect Hong Kong and Macau to 11 Chinese cities to form a high-tech region to rival Silicon Valley.

Airline pilot Liu Gang said he had been eagerly anticipating the opening of the bridge, calling it a symbol of the mainland's increasingly close ties with Hong Kong and Macau. The HKZM Bridge opens to traffic at 9am that day according to a Macau government announcement last week.

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"I declare the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge officially open", Xi said as digital fireworks exploded on a screen behind him in an indoor ceremony, before leaving the stage immediately. That claim was put to the test in September, when Typhoon Mangkhut swept through Hong Kong, destroying roofs, shattering windows, and toppling trees.

"But they still need it as a political symbol or icon to remind Hong Kong people ... that you are connected to the motherland, with this very grand bridge". Instead, a majority of traffic will come from shuttle buses or "special hire cars". "We would hardly use the bridge".

While there seems to be genuine excitement about the bridge from shipping and transportation companies, people in Hong Kong have mixed feelings about it.

Some Hong Kong media have dubbed Xi's trip, his second to Guangdong since taking office in 2012, as a "southern tour", echoing a high-profile 1992 visit to the special economic zones of the south by former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. The Pearl River Delta is home to an endangered Chinese white dolphin population that has been buffeted by massive land reclamation efforts in Hong Kong and other cities.

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Connecting China, Hong Kong