Final touches are being added to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HKZMB), which will be the world’s longest sea bridge. Engineer Yu Lie, who is the deputy director of the HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority, told Xinhua that the bridge was built to be able withstand a magnitude-8 earthquake and super typhoons, and has a service life of 120 years.
Yu Lie has spent more than 30 years working on bridges, but he says that the HKZMB is his pride and joy, given the fact that it is a technologically complicated bridge, crossing shipping lanes in the Lingding Channel, the middle channel of the Pearl River estuary. Those building the bridge had to overcome complex challenges, Xinhua reported.
The main structure measures 29.6 kilometers, consisting of a 22.9 km bridge section and a 6.7 km underground tunnel. Its total length is 55 kilometers. The bridge took seven years to build, and used 420,000 tonnes of steel, enough to build 60 Eiffel Towers, and required 1.08 million cubic meters of cement.
“As the bridge is ready to open to the public, people will have high expectations from it in terms of its transport function and how it can benefit the people,” said Yu, who has worked on the bridge since the initial preparations in 2004.
“The bridge will not only be a transport link. It will be a social, economic, cultural, and tourism connection [across] the three areas,” he said.
The bridge will slash travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from 3 hours to just 30 minutes. According to Xinhua, its aim is to further integrate the cities in the Pearl River Delta since it does “not only traverses a natural divide, it straddles two social systems – socialism and capitalism.”
“Our country is very strong in bridge building,” Yu said. “The HKZM Bridge highlights China’s achievements in technology, equipment and research, and stands at a point leading to a brand new future.”
The bridge spans one of the busiest waterways in the world. Every day, more than 4,000 vessels navigate above the bridge tunnel and almost every other minute, planes take off or land at Hong Kong airport.
Su Yi, assistant director of the HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority, said the governments of the three areas were discussing details regarding traffic permits, shuttle buses, emergency rescue and more.
“It will break new grounds in terms of management,” Su said. “We are looking forward to its opening and the sight of an endless stream of traffic.”
Entrepreneur praises new infrastructure
IN 1988, Hong Kong businessman Arnold Ho opened a factory across the Lingding Channel in Zhuhai. Today, his company Print-Rite Holdings Ltd has become a major printing material manufacturer. He usually travels between Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau. Riding on cars and ferries, a single journey can take hours. “Back then, there were not as many ferries. When I was in hurry to go back, if it happened that the typhoon came, I had to take a detour overland to go back to Hong Kong,” said Ho. Now, his journey back home will only take half an hour. “When the bridge is open, the opportunities it will bring are immense. Of course, Zhuhai will attract more investors. [Personally, it will mean that] I will have good opportunities to develop my company,” he said.