World's longest cross-sea bridge opens, integrating Greater Bay Area

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 24, 2018
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Photo taken on Oct. 20, 2018 shows the tunnel entrance on the West Artificial Island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. [Photo/Xinhua]

Engineering marvel

The mega-bridge construction incorporates the world's latest engineering technology and design. A total of 420,000 tonnes of steel was used in the project, equivalent to 60-times the steel used to build the Eiffel Tower. The bridge is designed for a 120-year lifespan, while most big sea bridges are designed to last 100 years.

The bridge underwent a natural test when super typhoon Mangkhut landed on Sept. 16 with hurricane-force winds on the coast of the city of Jiangmen neighboring Zhuhai in Guangdong.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority dispatched 83 safety inspectors to patrol the bridge and supporting facilities after the typhoon's landing. On-site supervision data showed that the bridge withstood a maximum wind speed of 160 km per hour upon the landing of Mangkhut, one of the 10 biggest storms in southeast China since 1949.

Zhang Jinwen, chief inspector of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority, said the bridge was built like building blocks. From the immersed tube tunnel of the underwater sections, to bridge piers and filter covers, every component was churned out on production lines similar to automobile workshops, and fitted into place.

The bridge has become a new landmark in the Greater Bay Area. Meng Fanchao, chief designer of the bridge, said the Qingzhou Channel Bridge, the highest part of the mega-bridge was designed in the shape of an auspicious Chinese knot.

Luo Guocai, a bridge builder, said it was part of his work to report on finding white dolphins in the nearby sea areas.

During the nine-year bridge construction period, a total of 2,367 sightings of dolphins were reported, with no injuries of any dolphins reported. Local fishermen said the building of the bridge did not cause a large impact on the life of the mammals.

Traffic over the bridge

With the bridge officially open to public traffic Wednesday, a coach service will link the three destinations. A bus starting from the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities can reach Zhuhai in about 40 minutes.

According to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority, in the first year of the bridge's opening, there will be 200 coaches in service on the bridge. Among them, 150 will be run between Zhuhai and Hong Kong, and the remaining 50 will be en route to Hong Kong and Macao. The frequency of shuttle bus service between Hong Kong customs and Zhuhai can reach once every five minutes at busy times.

In the first three years of the bridge's opening, 250 taxi licenses will be issued for travel over the bridge. Among them, 150 will be in service between Zhuhai and Hong Kong. Special bridge traffic licenses will also be issued to private cars in quota systems in the three regions.

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