Hong Kong Bridge Opens as Longest Sea Bridge Ever

The nine-year project to connect Hong Kong to Zhuhai by a sea bridge has finally concluded! Now, via the bridge, you can drive from Hong Kong to Zhuhai on other side of the South China Sea. The Hong Kong bridge project cost an estimated $20 billion.

BBC

Hong Kong Bridge Largest Sea Bridge Ever

The massive structure is six-lanes wide and spans some 34 miles. It’s easily the largest sea bridge ever, and it even includes an underwater tunnel at one point. The tunnel allows for shipping vessels to pass while going to Hong Kong! This project will allow commuters to get from Hong Kong to mainland much faster.

Previously, driving from Hong Kong to Zhuhai would be a roughly four-hour drive around the river. The drive would take one through a number of cities and tons of heavy, urban traffic. This new bridge makes that trip roughly 45 minutes, which will be a huge boon for inter-city trade.

The Bridge as a Symbol

Hong Kong operates semi-autonomously, and as such the Hong Kong bridge project can be seem as a symbol. It marks the first major infrastructure initiative that the mainland and Hong Kong have cooperated in creating. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though, as the bridge hit some serious kinks along the way.

Notably, the bridge came in very over budget. The project got some $15 billion in investment from Hong Kong alone, which has been a tough pill to swallow. The massive expenditure was even more difficult for the city to stomach when the project was delayed. Originally, it was supposed to be finished by 2016. Nearly a decade later, however, and the bridge has finally opened.

What This Means for Hong Kong

The Hong Kong bridge will have a notable impact on the region. It has been the subject of a number of controversies as well. At least ten workers died during construction, and over 600 were injured. Additionally, environmentalists fear the impact the bridge is having on marine wildlife in the region will be extreme.

Meanwhile, critics within Hong Kong fear that this is the latest in a long series of attempts by the mainland to integrate them into China itself. The island is well-known for its independence, much to the chagrin of the mainland.