China opened the world’s longest sea bridge

© 2018 by the Associated Press Kin Saidmust between the cities of Hong Kong, Macau and ZhuhaiChina opened the world’s longest sea bridge© 2018 by the Associated Press Kin Cheung

In southern China on Tuesday formally opened the world’s longest sea bridge with a length of 55 kilometers, according to the Central television of China. He connected with Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

The ceremony was held in Zhuhai, with the participation of President of China XI Jinping, head of the administration of Hong Kong Carrie Lam, Vice-Premier of the state Council of China, Han Zheng, party Secretary of Guangdong province, Li si and about 700 guests.

Free movement on the bridge, which will reduce travel time from Hong Kong to Zhuhai from three hours to 30 minutes, starting on Wednesday.

According to preliminary estimates, by 2030, every day the bridge will pass more than 29 million vehicles and more than 120 thousand passengers. It is expected that it will significantly contribute to economic integration and development of the three major cities of the economic zone of Pearl river Delta, as well as tourism in Hong Kong and Macau.

It is planned to launch round-the-clock buses that will run between the three cities with a frequency of every five minutes during rush hours, 10-15 minutes at the usual time and every 15-30 minutes at night. In addition, a number of bus companies of Hong Kong and Macau shall provide the services of transportation from multiple locations in the cities themselves.

Bridge design

Engineers have created a complex structure that consists of several parts the surface of the bridge with a total length of 22.9 km, the underwater tunnel with a length of 6.7 kilometers, several artificial Islands, as well as a special border crossing between mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau because of their relationship to mandatory border control.

The weight of the steel of the bridge exceeds 400 thousand tons. It needs to last up to 120 years and is designed to withstand strongest Typhoon with wind speeds of over 300 kilometers per hour and earthquakes of magnitude 8.

When designing was taken into account that this area is one of the most navigable in China — the bridge spans located at the proper height, and the distance between the supports is sufficient in order not to disrupt the movement of ships. The operation of the bridge should also not affect the effectiveness of the international airports of Hong Kong and Macau.

The history of the construction

The idea is to bridge the Hong Kong and Guangdong province occurred in the late 1980-ies, however, more than two decades remained only one of the possible projects. In 2003, the Central government of China ordered to proceed with preliminary calculations and development of the project. The design has attracted hundreds of research organizations. The number of registered patents involved in the construction, exceeded a thousand.

Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative areas, which became part of China on the principle of «one country, two systems» in 1997 and 1999 respectively. They have an Autonomous economic and political system that has brought difficulties in determining the share of funding. Each of the three governments agreed to build the necessary infrastructure on its territory, but they could not come to an agreement on financing the main part of the bridge.

The construction of the bridge began in December 2009. It was supposed to pass in 2016, but the completion was prevented by many factors — corruption, budget revisions, accident, accidents, adverse weather conditions.

The construction was criticized by environmental advocates. Primarily this is due to the decline in the population of Chinese white dolphins, which are a symbol of Hong Kong. According to the district government, from April 2007 to March 2018 in the waters of Hong Kong and was spotted only about 50 individuals.