A $ 20 billion bridge between Hong Kong and Macao to China’s mainland city of Zhuhai will be operational this week, marking the completion of the longest sea bridge ever built, nine years after construction began.
The 55-kilometer bridge was originally scheduled to open to the public in 2016, but repeated delays have pushed it back this year.
This is a key element of China’s plan for a 56,500-square-kilometer Big Bay area in southern China, encompassing 11 cities, including Hong Kong and Macao, home to 68 million people.
Proponents of the idea claim that the bridge will reduce travel time between cities from three hours to 30 minutes, which will allow shuttles and tourists to move easily in the region.
“With this bridge, travel time between Hong Kong and the Western Pearl River Delta region will be significantly shortened, allowing the Western Pearl River Delta region to It’s a three-hour drive from Hong Kong, Frank Chan, the city’s transport secretary, said Friday.
Despite the emphasis on driving time, Hong Kong passenger car owners will not be able to cross the bridge without a special permit. Most drivers will need to park at the Hong Kong port, taking the shuttle bus or special rental cars once they have gone through immigration. Shuttles cost between $ 8 and $ 10 for a single trip, depending on the time of day.
Built to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake, super typhoon and large cargo shocks, the bridge includes 400,000 tons of steel, 4.5 times more than the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge.