China inaugurated the longest maritime bridge in the world

On October 23, the bridge linking the cities of Hong Kong and Macao was finally opened to traffic. The construction of the work demanded an investment of more than 16,000 million euros and took almost 9 years.

The work of the Hong Kong bridge is one of the most ambitious projects in China and marks a milestone in the attempt of this nation to integrate the cities located in the delta of the Pearl River.

Pearl River Delta Map, with the cities and the bridge
The bridge extends over the Pearl River delta waters, between Hong Kong to the east and the cities of Zhuhai and Macao to the west. A segment of 6.7 kilometers (dashed line on the map) circulates through a tunnel, to allow the traffic of large ships into the delta (upper area of the map).

The bridge began to be built in 2009. The inauguration date was initially established for 2016, but due to various setbacks it was delayed.

Finally on November 14, 2017 the work was completed. On October 23, at 9 am local time was opened to traffic.

Pilllars of the Hong Kong-Macao bridge
(Photo: Andy Wong)

The 55-kilometer-long bridge links the cities of Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao, earning the record for the longest maritime bridge in the world.

This work is divided into two sections. One of them consists of a bridge of 29.6 kilometers, while the remaining section runs under water through a tunnel of 6.7 kilometers in length.

The reason why a tunnel was chosen in part of the route was to allow the passage of large vessels into the Pearl River delta, an area that has a large freight traffic.

Freeway over the Hong Kong Bridge
(Photo: Anthony Wallace)

To build a large-scale project like this, it was necessary to build gigantic pillars and create two artificial islands: one of them allows the highway to enter the tunnel and the other to return to the surface again.

Some 400,000 tons of steel and more than one million cubic meters of concrete were also used on the bridge.

The investment of more than 16,000 million euros was financed by the governments of China, Hong Kong and Macao.

The bridge allows to shorten the travel time between Hong Kong and Macao. From almost four hours it is reduced to only half an hour.

This work represents a great advance for the cities that settle in the Delta of the Pearl River, in the southeast of China, which form the largest urban agglomeration of the planet with a total population that exceeds 60 million inhabitants.

Hong Kong bridge at night with the artificial islands
The bridge has a freeway of three lanes in each direction. In the photograph we can see the two artificial islands that allow the entry and exit of the tunnel. (Image: Kin Cheung)

 

Source: HZMB www.hzmb.hk – Cover image by Anthony Wallace.
News Reporter

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