The world’s longest sea bridge, connecting Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai is now open.
The $20-billion bridge connecting the two Special Administrative Regions of China, Hong Kong and Macau, with the mainland at Zhuhai. After nine years of construction, the world’s longest sea bridge finally opened for business this week.
The inauguration ceremony was headed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who commissioned the bridge for public traffic on Tuesday.
Originally scheduled to open in 2016, but repeated delays pushed to opening of the 55-kilometer bridge to this year.
Before the bridge, commuters would need around 3 hours to cross the sea from one city to another. Now, it would only take them 30 minutes.
Part of the bridge is an underwater tunnel which connects at two artificially made islands in the middle of the sea.
It is part of the country’s plan for a Greater Bay Area, which includes 11 cities and is home to a combined 68 million people. Also known as the Pearl River Delta Metropolitan Region, project will cover an area of 56,500 square kilometers.
However, people in Hong Kong will have a hard time crossing the bridge in their private cars without a permit. They will have to park their cars at Hong Kong port and board shuttle buses, which cost between $8 and $10 for a single trip, depending on the time of day.
The bridge will help boost tourism between the two regions and mainland China.