The longest sea bridge in the world has opened in Hong Kong, after a three-year delay.
The “Hong Kong-Zhuhai” bridge spans 55km and is approximately 20 times the length of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, linking Hong Kong to mainland China via Macau.
The incredible structure includes two link roads, and at one point dives beneath the surface of the water for 6.7km – via two man-made islands – to allow ships to continue on through the estuary.
Due to its location, it was imperative the structure of the bridge could withstand earthquakes and typhoons, and is even geared to cope with accidental ship strikes, in the rare case a ship collides with the bridge.
As if the weather conditions weren’t enough for engineers to battle with, it was imperative the bridge met height restrictions, as it crosses the flight path for Hong Kong’s international airport.
Due to the border control required to pass between Hong Kong and the mainland, two immigration centres have been set up on the bridge and only buses, commercial vehicles and exclusive private cars will actually be able to use it.
Which begs the question – why was it so necessary to build the super-structure?
Well, officials say the main reason was to save time, as previously the journey around the delta took four hours, whilst the Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge has cut this time to just 30 minutes. Skeptics, however, say the bridge has been created purely for the symbolic purpose of uniting Hong Kong with the mainland.
With a three year delay, a cost of AU$28 billion and nine deaths during the construction, we’re not entirely sure this bridge is quite worth it.
It does look pretty cool though.