Link in­stalled

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Ma­cao Bridge com­pleted

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Zhuhai, Guang­dong and SHADOWLI in Hong Kong Con­tact the writ­ers at zheng­caix­iong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

In­stal­la­tion of the fi­nal 35-met­ric-ton piece of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Ma­cao Bridge — an ex­pan­sion joint— was com­pleted on Tues­day, mark­ing the start of the next phase of the gi­gan­tic bridge project.

Zhu Yongling, direc­tor of the bridge author­ity, made the an­nounce­ment in Zhuhai, Guang­dong province, on Tues­day af­ter the in­stal­la­tion was com­pleted.

“This means con­struc­tion of the 22.9-kilo­me­ter-long bridge, which is a ma­jor com­po­nent of the project, has been com­pleted,” Zhu told me­dia.

Ex­perts said the bridge, which is ex­pected to open be­fore the end of 2017 will play a sig­nif­i­cant role in en­hanc­ing eco­nomic ties be­tween Hong Kong, Ma­cao and Guang­dong.

Chen Guang­han, vice-dean of the Re­search In­sti­tute of the Devel­op­ment of Guang­dong, Hong Kong and Ma­cao, said the bridge will help HongKong fur­ther ex­pand its devel­op­ment space when it ad­vances its co­op­er­a­tion with the vast western part of the Pearl River Delta re­gion in Guang­dong af­ter traf­fic be­gins to flow.

“The western part of the delta re­gion, which in­cludes the pros­per­ous cities of Zhuhai, Zhong­shan, Jiang­men, Yangjiang and Tais­han, still has huge room for ex­pan­sion and co­op­er­a­tion with Hong Kong,” Chen said on Tues­day.

“Mean­while, Zhong­shan, the home­town of Dr Sun Yat­sen; and Jiang­men and Tais­han, the home­towns of myr­iad over­seas Chi­nese liv­ing around the world, have rich tourism re­sources for fur­ther devel­op­ment,” he said.

“The bridge will help ac­cel­er­ate the devel­op­ment of Hong Kong’s in­ter­na­tional air­port and its ports and the devel­op­ment of Hong Kong’s Lan­tou Is­land area,” Chen said.

It is also ex­pected to help HongKong’s air­port and ports to at­tract more busi­nesses, Chen said.

Chen urged Hong Kong to build more ma­jor shop­ping cen­ters and malls on Lan­tou Is­land, with its rich tourism re­sources, tomeet the de­mand from the large num­ber of main­land res­i­dents who are ex­pected to visit Hong Kong af­ter the bridge opens.

Song Haiyan, as­so­ciate dean of Hong Kong Poly­tech­nic Univer­sity, pre­dicted that the bridge will pos­i­tively af­fect the economies of all three cities.

Song said he does not be­lieve the bridge will nec­es­sar­ily bring a great surge in tourist traf­fic, but it will have a pos­i­tive ef­fect over­all, pre­sent­ing yet an­other op­tion in ad­di­tion to plane, train or ferry for travel be­tween Hong Kong and the main­land.

Hong Kong law­maker Lo Wai-kwok said the bridge will for­tify Hong Kong air­port’s piv­otal role in the re­gion, con­nect­ing the western Pearl River Delta and short­en­ing the jour­ney from Zhuhai to Hong Kong.

Lo said he is con­fi­dent the bridge will be fin­ished on time, not­ing that the most dif­fi­cult part is now com­plete.

The 55-kilo­me­ter bridge in­cludes a 6.7-kilo­me­ter un­der­wa­ter tun­nel and a 22.9 kilo­me­ter bridge that passes over the sea, mak­ing it the long­est cross-sea bridge in the world.

Con­struc­tion of the Y-shaped bridge started in 2009 and will cost more than 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.5 bil­lion). It is part of the coun­try’s planned na­tional high­way net­work, link­ing the western and eastern banks of the Pearl River.

Once in op­er­a­tion, the bridge will help shorten the cur­rent four-hour drive from Hong Kong to Zhuhai to half an hour.

The ser­vice life of the bridge is ex­pected to be more than 120 years.

LI JIANSHU / FOR CHINA DAILY

Above: Work­ers cel­e­brate the com­ple­tion of ma­jor con­struc­tion work on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Ma­cao Bridge on Tues­day. ZHONG FAN / FOR CHINA DAILY Left: The bridge stretches 22.9 kilo­me­ters over the wa­ter.

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