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World's Longest Sea Bridge Going Through Final Drills Before Oct Opening

September 27, 2018

The much-delayed sea bridge connecting Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau is going through a last set of test runs before the bridge opens for service sometime in October.

Map showing the route of the Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macau bridge. Photo: Hong Kong -- Zuhai -- Macau Bridge

The bridge, which began construction in 2011 and which was originally scheduled for completion in 2016, is considered a critical link in the Hong Kong regional infrastructure.  It has cost 15.73 billion yuan ($2.29 billion) to date to build it. The funds to make that possible were shared jointly by the governments of China, Hong Kong and Macau.

When complete, the 55km (34 mile) bridge will connect a point in Hong Kong not far from its international airport, cross an artificial island built offshore Hong Kong just for this, and proceed to the Zhuhai and Macau boundary crossing area. The bridge will make it possible for people to commute between the cities within only an hour.

Besides the tourist opportunity of now having Macau directly accessible from Hong Kong by car, Beijing is looking for the bridge to help integrate its Pearl River Delta Region more tightly into the Hong Kong metropolitan area. The Pearl River Delta already has earned the slang name “Greater Bay Area”, with an echo to the name of its San Francisco, California counterpart (the “Bay Area”). China believes, likely rightly so, that the placement of this bridge will create a major stimulus for the Pearl River Delta economy.

The final checkout of the bridge begins at 9 am on September 27 with what will eventually take 51 hours to complete. It will start with each of the three primary governments connected to the project sending 40 vehicles each through their border crossings. The vehicles will then go through the 29.6 km main bridge section. While there, they will check the roadways, markings, passenger capacity for the bridge, and road signaling and computer systems. Drivers and passengers will also test out the customs and immigration clearance processes at each checkpoint.

Road travel will be evaluated at several different times of day so that issues of light and general visibility can be evaluated more thoroughly.

The local police force will also be conducting a counterterrorism drill on the bridge prior to opening it up for public access.

According to Wang Yanlin, deputy director of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority, the plans for the eventual opening ceremony have already been submitted to the State Council. The bridge is currently expected to open by late October.

Copyright: North America Procurement Council Inc., PBC