China just opened the world's longest sea crossing

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

An evening view of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and its entrances to a cross sea tunnel, off Lantau island in Hong Kong, China October 21, 2018, before its opening ceremony on October 23, 2018.

President Xi Jinping presided over the inauguration early on Tuesday but said little except to declare the bridge officially open to a burst of fireworks projected onto a screen behind him.

China's Vice Premier Han Zheng characterized the bridge as part of the development of the Greater Bay Area - a Beijing-driven project to create an economic hub linking nine southern mainland cities to Hong Kong and Macau.

The bridge will cut travel time across the delta from several hours to just 30 minutes, something China hopes will bind the region together as a major driver of future economic growth.

The project has been controversial in China, due to lengthy delays and industrial accidents that claimed the lives of at least 18 workers, according to the BBC.

The bridge has been built to withstand super-typhoons, a magnitude 8 natural disaster, as well as hits by super-sized cargo ships. The bridge will formally open to the public on Wednesday. The Hong Kong to Zhuhai Bridge is one of the largest civil construction projects ever undertaken by the People's Republic of China.

The bridge was first proposed in the late 1980s, but it was opposed at the time by Hong Kong's British colonial government, which was wary of development that might draw the city closer to Communist China.




Certainly, there is anxiety in Hong Kong, with critics fearing the increasing inroads into the special administrative region's territory by an ever-assertive mainland, while some local media has suggested that drivers on the bridge will be closely scrutinized by cameras that examine even their physical condition and how tired a driver is becoming. It is also reportedly strong enough to withstand an 8.0-magnitude natural disaster, a typhoon and strikes by cargo vessels.

Obviously, the majority of Hongkongers don't meet any one of these standards, meaning that they'll have to take a hired vehicle or shuttle bus across the bridge.

The construction in itself is not a simple bridge, but a bridge-tunnel system. The area where the Pearl River meets the South China Sea was once a sanctuary for the species, whose population has declined since construction began. The above water roadway consists of three cable-stayed bridges, while a tunnel runs under the sea.

In response to environmentalists' concerns, the Hong Kong government established protected marine parks for the dolphins and other aquatic animals.

The bridge includes a designated merge point, where cars can switch to the appropriate side of the road.

The world's longest sea-crossing bridge is set to open in south-east China, stretching 34 miles and costing £14billion. However, don't think you're free now to just drive on down to Hong Kong whenever you so desire. "I'm sure Beijing knew clearly that we didn't quite need it and that it was not necessary for the time being".

For other Chinese executives, it symbolically affirms China's grasp on Hong Kong - even if the views are impressive.

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