The 55-kilometre bridge connects Hong Kong with Macau and mainland China
After nine long years of construction, China has finally finished one of its most significant projects — the longest sea bridge in the world.
The project is part of an ambitious Chinese plan to create a Greater Bay Area that would consist of the three cities. The total cost of the project, including other infrastructure connected to the bridge, is estimated to be $20bn — the main bridge alone cost $6.92bn.
The road includes a 7-kilometre-long tunnel that reaches a maximum depth of 44.5 metres and allows ships to pass through the channel.
The design of the bridge allows it to endure earthquakes and typhoons. It was built with 400,000 tonnes of steel, enough to build 60 Eiffel Towers.
The bridge is set to welcome its first motorists on Wednesday. However, not everybody will be able to cross. Drivers who wish to use it will have to obtain a special permit which will be allocated according to a quota system. There will be a toll for all vehicles as well.
The Chinese government had estimated that 9,200 vehicles will cross the bridge every day. They had to lower the estimate because other transport networks have been established in the region.
Despite its scale, the project failed to avoid criticism. With 18 workers dying during the construction, the bridge has been called the “bridge of death” by some local media.
There have been voices raising concerns about its environmental impact and about its impact on politics in Hong Kong.