The world’s longest sea bridge is an engineering wonder. It connects Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. It consists of a snaking road crossing as well as an underwater tunnel. It has been reported that this project uses enough steel that 60 Eiffel towers could be made out of it.
The construction on the 34-mile long crossing began 9 years ago and it is the first time the Chinese government has offered a sneak peek into the project. The bridge will cut across the waters of Pearl River Estuary and link Hong Kong to the city of Zhuhai in southern China and the gambling enclave of Macau.
The opening date of the bridge is still not confirmed but the officials do say that they expect the bridge to be in service for 120 years and will cut down travel time by 60% to boost business. Gao Xinglin, the bridge’s project planning manager said that the 6.7-kilometre underwater tunnel was a nightmare. “There were many nights where I couldn’t fall asleep because there were too many difficulties during the construction,” Gao told reporters. “Linking the 80,000-tonne pipes under the sea with watertight technology was the most challenging.”
The world’s longest sea bridge project also includes artificial islands, linked roads, and new border crossing facilities. The total price tag for the project is still unknown but estimates put it north of $15 billion. This has led to a number of critics slamming it as a costly white elephant.
The project has been plagued by delays and budget overruns. There have been numerous accusations of corruption and deaths of construction workers. The world’s longest sea bridge was hoped to open by 2017 but it was not to be. There have also been safety concerns after 19 lab workers were charged with faking concrete test reports with one man jailed last December.
It looks like we will have to wait a little longer before we can see this engineering marvel in action.