Written by Lethonkie Fernando
23 Oct, 2018 | 4:19 pm
Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, nine years after construction first began. Including its access roads, the bridge spans 55km (34 miles) and connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.
The bridge has cost about $20bn (£15.3bn) and seen several delays.
Construction has been dogged by safety issues – at least 18 workers have died on the project, officials say.Mr Xi attended the opening ceremony of the bridge, which took place in Zhuhai, along with the leaders of Hong Kong and Macau.
The bridge will open to regular traffic on Wednesday (October 24).
What’s so special about this bridge?
The crossing connects three key coastal cities in southern China – Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai.
The bridge, designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, was built using 400,000 tonnes of steel, enough to build 60 Eiffel Towers.
About 30km of its total length crosses the sea of the Pearl River delta. To allow ships through, a 6.7km section in the middle dips into an undersea tunnel that runs between two artificial islands.
Is it going to make up to its’ costs?
The bridge, surrounding link roads and artificial islands cost a staggering $20bn to build – the main bridge alone cost $6.92bn.
Chinese officials say it will generate up to 10 trillion yuan ($1.44tn; £1tn) for the economy.
According to an estimate by BBC Chinese, the bridge will only earn around $86m in tolls per year.
In fact, the bridge’s maintenance costs would already take away a third of this income.
Critics have called the bridge a “big white elephant” that guarantees no economic return. Others have said its main purpose is symbolic, ensuring Hong Kong is physically connected to the mainland.
Courtesy to BBC News
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