Published: Fri, October 26, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

World's longest sea bridge opened in China

World's longest sea bridge opened in China

The engineering achievement, which is 55 kilometres long, opens amid questions about whether it is even needed and suspicions the project had a political motive to bring Macau and Hong Kong closer to mainland China.

The bridge will connect Hong Kong and Macau to Zhuhai as part of China's plan for a "Greater Bay Area" covering 56,000 sq km across 11 cities in south China.

China's President Xi Jinping officially opened the world's longest sea bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China on October 23, at a time when Beijing is tightening its grip on its semi-autonomous territories.

Professor Mee Kam Ng from the Chinese University of Hong Kong tells the BBC's Russell Padmore why the opening of the bridge will not be cheered by everybody.

He said the bridge demonstrates China's engineering capabilities.

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The construction of this bridge started in 2009 and has been marred by several delays.

Some Hong Kong media reported that the physical condition of bus drivers would be monitored by cameras, including an alert sent if a driver yawns more than three times in 20 seconds.

That carries major political significance for Xi's administration, which has rejected calls for political liberalization in Hong Kong, sparking fears Beijing will clamp down further on civil liberties before the end of the "one country, two systems" arrangement in 2047. It also includes a 6.7-kilometer (4-mile) submerged tunnel to help it avoid the busy shipping paths over the Pearl River Delta.

He also highlighted the three cross-border infrastructure projects - the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai boundary control point which will open early next year. The rail link sparked criticism that Hong Kong was giving away territory as some part of the rail terminus came under the jurisdiction of mainland China.

A government-commissioned study from 2016 estimated that 29,100 vehicles would use the bridge daily, by 2030, which was 12 per cent down from a report written in 2008.

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