The largest bridge over the sea in the world, 55 kilometers long that will link the cities of Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao, is now operational after years of delays, cost overruns and political tensions that were present during its construction.
Designed to encourage economic integration between Hong Kong and the southern cities of China, known as the great bay of the Pearl River Delta, the project consists of a series of bridges and tunnels that will connect the three cities in an estimated time of 40 minutes. at four and a half hours until today it was hard to get by road between the longest points.
This megaproject, in which 400,000 tons of steel have been used, will facilitate the flow of transport between Hong Kong, the west of the Pearl River Delta and the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi, joining the banks of its mouth through an island artificial that will serve as port of entry for China and Macao.
Taken into three bands between the governments of China, Hong Kong and Macao, it is politically the first major infrastructure project built under the cooperation of the three governments.
However, the political and economic toll of the colossal work is still under discussion on the day of its inauguration, which is expected to attend the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
The cost of the project, whose construction started in 2009 with the aim of being inaugurated two years ago, exceeded 15,000 million dollars, accounting for about 26% of excess cost that was also financed by the three parties.
Due to the fact that it has been carried out in one of the maritime zones with the highest cargo traffic in southern China, tunnels under the sea have had to be built in an area subject to strong currents and typhoons during the summer, which are connected to the bridge through two artificial islands.
In fact, the complexity of building in the open sea has been one of the causes of delays and unforeseen expenses, according to official sources in Hong Kong.
The political opposition and environmental organizations, on the other hand, have also expressed strong criticism of the project, considering that it has seriously reduced the habitat of marine species such as the Chinese white dolphin, which has practically disappeared from the area.
In addition, according to the Association for the Rights of Victims of Occupational Accidents, ten workers died and more than 600 were injured while working on the construction of the bridge over these eight years.
The most critical consider that the traffic on the bridge will not reach the predicted calculations of 29,100 vehicles circulating daily by 2030, especially from Hong Kong and Macao, in favor of severely restricting the number and type of vehicles entering their territories, of by themselves small and crowded with people.