World’s longest sea crossing: Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge opens

Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the world’s longest sea crossing bridge, nine years after construction first began. Including its access roads, the bridge spans 55km (34 miles)...

Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the world’s longest sea crossing bridge, nine years after construction first began.

Including its access roads, the bridge spans 55km (34 miles) and connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.

The bridge has cost about $20bn (£15.3bn) and seen several delays.

Construction has been dogged by safety issues – at least 18 workers have died on the project, officials say.

Xi attended the opening ceremony of the bridge which took place in Zhuhai along with the leaders of Hong Kong and Macau on Tuesday.

The bridge will open to regular traffic on Wednesday.

The crossing connects three key coastal cities in southern China – Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai.

The bridge, designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, was built using 400,000 tonnes of steel, enough to build 60 Eiffel Towers

The remaining sections are link roads, viaducts and land tunnels connecting Zhuhai and Hong Kong to the main bridge

It is part of China’s plan to create a Greater Bay Area, including Hong Kong, Macau and nine other cities in southern China.

The area is currently home to 68 million people.

In the past, travelling between Zhuhai and Hong Kong would take up to four hours – the new bridge cuts this down to 30 minutes.

Environmental groups say the project may have caused serious harm to marine life in the area, including the critically rare Chinese white dolphin.

The number of dolphins seen in Hong Kong waters has decreased from 148 to 47 in the past 10 years, and they are now absent from the waters near the bridge, according to the Hong Kong branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). (Courtesy BBC)

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