After nine years of constructions and a steep $20 billion in construction costs, Chinese president Xi Jinping has officially opened the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. The bridge is now world’s longest sea crossing. It comprises of a Hong Kong Link Road (12 kilometers), a Main Bridge (29.6 kilometers) and a Zhuhai Link Road (13.4 kilometers).
The bridge connects the three major cities in China’s Pearl River Delta area – Hong Kong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai on the Chinese mainland. In total, it spans a titanic 55km in length. In the bridge’s centre, is a 6.7km section that allows ships through. Dipping into an undersea tunnel, two artificial islands connect the gap.
Incredibly, builders constructed the bridge with 400,000 tonnes of steel. Designers planned the bridge to be strong enough to withstand the most catastrophic earthquakes and typhoons and last for 120 years. Building such a landmark structure was no easy task. According to the BBC, problems plagued builders, with at least 18 works died during construction.
Beyond being a record-breaking marvel, the crossing has also improved convenience and accessibility. Previously, Hong Kong was an hour-long ferry ride away from Zhuhai and Macau. Now, cars are able to cross the sea in 45 minutes. Other travel options are also available, with a new Hong Kong Zhuhai Macao Bridge shuttle bus (dubbed the “Golden Bus”) an option. Hong Kong-based British designer Keith Griffiths states that the bridge serves as a “front door” to the cities. The structure aims to represent the city’s modern nature and reduce the stress of travellers.
“Our primary considerations … were to create a building that was uniquely of and for Hong Kong,” said Griffiths. “The challenge was to create a beautiful piece of well-made architecture that would be a gateway for Hong Kong to be proud of.”
If travelling across the bridge, there are important considerations. Hong Kong and Macau are governed under a separate legal framework to mainland China. This means that time for clearing immigration at both ends of the journey must be accounted for. All travellers must also require a valid travel document.