The world’s longest cross-sea bridge which is linking mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau, with an eight-year construction period, will soon be open to traffic this month.
Being one of China’s most ambitious engineering projects, it’s a 55-kms megastructure made of 380,000 tonnes of steel. In other words, the steel was enough to build 60 Eiffel Towers. Two artificial islands created around 100 huge steel cylinders had to be installed. The bridge has also been designed to withstand earthquakes and seasonal typhoons that lash cities around the Pearl River estuary each year. At its height, 14,000 workers and 300 ships were engaged with the project – which according to Chinese media cost $15billion. More than six kilometres of undersea tunnels had to be built to ensure the free flow of ships sailing from Hong Kong.
About 40,000 vehicles a day, including shuttle buses running at 10-minute intervals, are expected to cross the bridge daily when it opens. Pedestrians and cyclists will not be allowed. Commuters will be able to travel across the Pearl River Estuary from Macau to Hong Kong in about an hour. Officials say the bridge will be up and running for 120 years. Over the next decade, China plans to encourage 250 million people (29 times New York City's population) to move into the country's growing megacities. To cope with that huge migration, the country has invested tens of billions of dollars in giant infrastructure projects.