The authorized vehicles began today to circulate around the longest bridge in the world that connects mainland China with the cities of Macao and Hong Kong, an ambitious project that aims to strengthen tourism and trade in the region.
From 9.00 local time (1.00 GMT), buses and other authorized vehicles have been able to travel the bridge, 55 kilometers long, in just 40 minutes, a journey that used to take four hours.
The authorities apply restrictions on the traffic of private vehicles, so only those who have obtained a license have been able to start circulating this colossal work, inaugurated yesterday by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On the first day of service, the macropuente was not at full capacity because the announcement of its opening occurred last Friday, so bus and car operators have not had much time to request the necessary authorizations.
Travel agencies look at this colossal work as a great business opportunity to boost tourism and have already begun to organize groups of tourists for the next few days, although cross-border trips will be limited "at the moment", as explained by the tourism legislator from Hong Kong, Yiu Si-wing, to the South China Morning Post.
The longest bridge in the world starts on the island of Lantau in Hong Kong, parallel to the city's airport, and ends on an artificial island built between Macao and Zhuhai where the migratory controls are located and from where boats and underground urban channels leave to facilitate access to passengers.
Authorities are already testing systems to streamline immigration controls with face recognition cameras and fingerprint readers that could prevent drivers from having to show their identification each time they use it.
For the construction of the bridge 400,000 tons of steel were used, the equivalent of 60 Eiffel towers, which are distributed among the 55 kilometers in length, of which 30 kilometers are built on the open sea and 6.7 meters make up an underground tunnel installed in the waters of the south of China that will allow that ships of merchandize and ships of ample spread continue circulating.
The viaduct, one of Beijing's most ambitious projects, is considered as a key axis of China's plan to strengthen the industry and trade of the Pearl River Delta, meet the demand for cargo and passenger traffic and integrate even more semi-autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macao.