President Xi opens 34-mile-long bridge linking Hong Kong and Macau to mainland
Chinese president Xi Jinping has officially opened the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, a 34-mile-long structure linking mainland China to the semi-autonomous territories of Hong Kong and Macau.
The project cost about £15.3 billion, and took just over nine years to complete, forming “a key element of China’s plan for a Greater Bay Area covering 56,500 square kilometres [21,800 square miles] of southern China”, CNN reports. Beijing sees the area as a potential home-grown rival to Silicon Valley.
The bridge, which will open for traffic tomorrow, is not only the largest of its kind but also has some unusual rules, The National reports. Hong Kong residents can only access the bridge with a special permit from the Chinese authorities, and there are reports that bus drivers will be monitored for fatigue by yawn cameras installed on the bridge.
To allow large ships to pass through the area, a four-mile-long section of the bridge dips down beneath the water.
The project has been controversial in China, due to lengthy delays and industrial accidents that claimed the lives of at least 18 workers, according to the BBC.
Critics have also taken aim at the possible environmental effects the bridge will have on numbers of the critically endangered Chinese white dolphins in the area.