China inaugurated Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, world’s longest sea bridge with a total length of 55 km. The new sea bridge will connect the east and west sides of the Pearl River Delta of the South China Sea, connecting two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau with Zhuhai i.e. mainland China.
The project was initially conceived in 2003, and construction began on December 2009. Its total cost was 120 billion yuan ($17.3 billion). This has been shared in different proportions by Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai governments. It is estimated that 29,000 vehicles would cross the bridge every day.
It includes dual three-lane, oversea stretch (22.9 km) and undersea tunnel (6.7 km) which reaches a depth of 44 m. The rest 25.4 km of the bridge runs over land. The two ends of the tunnel of the bridge are connected to two artificial islands, each million sq ft, constructed in shallow areas of Pearl River Estuary to allow transit between bridge and tunnel sections.
The 6.7 km undersea tunnel is made of the chain of 33 submerged hollow blocks, each 38 m wide, 11.4 m high and weighing 80,000 tonnes. The bridge contains 400,000 tonnes of steel. It is designed to withstand magnitude-8 earthquake and strikes by super-sized cargo ships.
The bridge will put three cities within hour’s commute of each other and is expected to boost economic development. It will cut travel time from Hong Kong International Airport to Zhuhai from 4 hours to 45 minutes. It will also bring down trip between Kwai Chung Container Port (Hong Kong) and Zhuhai to 1 hour and 15 minutes from existing 3½ hours.