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World's Longest Hong Kong -Zhuhai-Macau Sea Bridge opens in China

 
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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:18 am    Post subject: World's Longest Hong Kong -Zhuhai-Macau Sea Bridge opens in China Reply with quote

A $20-billion bridge connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai is set to finally open on 23rd October 2018, marking the completion of the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built, nine years after construction began.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to attend a ceremony in Zhuhai on Tuesday, along with top officials from Hong Kong and Macau, with the bridge opening to public traffic Wednesday.
The 55-kilometer bridge was originally due to open in 2016, but repeated delays pushed that to this year.
It is a key element of China's plan for a Greater Bay Area covering 56,500 square kilometers across southern China, and encompassing 11 cities, including Hong Kong and Macau, that are home to a combined 68 million people.

The project includes a 29.6 km dual 3-lane carriageway in the form of bridge-cum-tunnel structure comprising a tunnel of about 6.7 km; two artificial islands for the tunnel landings west of the HKSAR boundary; and associated works including civil and structural works, environmental mitigation, drainage, electrical and mechanical, traffic control and surveillance system, etc.


Key points:
The bridge is the sixth-longest to be built in the world
Over 400,000 tonnes of steel has been used to build the structure
China has plans to use the cities which are linked as a huge economic and business hub



Fierce criticism
The bridge project has come in for fierce criticism in Hong Kong, where there was little public demand or appetite for greater links to either Macau or Zhuhai, and fears the city will be swamped by tourists from mainland China.
In 2016, Hong Kong saw 56.7 million tourist arrivals, compared to 37.6 million for the UK, a much larger country.
For critics of the Chinese government, the bridge is seen as a tool to drag the city -- which boasts a semi-democratic legislature and independent judiciary and has seen numerous mass protests in recent years -- closer into Beijing's grip.
The world's longest sea bridge, connecting Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese mainland will open to traffic on October 24, 2018 officials said, after complaints about the secrecy surrounding the project.
The world's longest sea bridge, connecting Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese mainland will open to traffic on October 24, 2018 officials said, after complaints about the secrecy surrounding the project.
"You can't see the existing transport connections -- in a literal way. But this bridge is very visible ... you can see it from the plane when you fly in to Hong Kong, and it's breathtaking," lawmaker Claudia Mo told CNN earlier in the year.
"It links Hong Kong to China almost like an umbilical cord. You see it, and you know you're linked up to the motherland."

Mo and other critics also point to the huge amount of money spent by Hong Kong -- upwards of $9 billion -- while the city is dealing with an acute lack of public housing and widespread poverty.
"Hong Kong has had to fund a lot of the bridge, but we won't see many benefits here," Mo said.


Huge engineering effort
Under construction since 2009, the structure is supported by three cable-stayed bridges and designed to withstand winds of up to 340 kmph. A 6.7 km undersea tunnel has been built to avoid the busy shipping paths over the Pearl River Delta.  The tunnel runs between two artificial islands, each measuring 100,000 square meters (1 million square feet) and situated in relatively shallow waters.

Built to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake, 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.
Towers above the bridge are designed to look like dolphins, in honour of the white dolphin, Chinese knots and a boat’s mast, according to the bridge’s designer. The curves of the road are meant to resemble a snake.

Nine workers have died and more than 200 others have been injured building the bridge. This year, six subcontractors have been fined for endangering workers.

Earlier this year, concrete blocks around the artificial island appeared to be floating away, prompting criticism of the quality of the bridge. Officials said the placement was deliberate.


While an impressive engineering feat, the building of the bridge brought its own controversies. 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.

Source:
https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/21/world/hong-kong-zhuhai-macau-bridge-intl/index.html
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/22/longest-sea-bridge-to-open-china-hong-kong-zhuhai-macau-permit
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