China’s President Xi Jinping has officially opened the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, a 55-km-long (34-mile) structure linking mainland China to the semi-autonomous territories of Hong Kong and Macau. The 55km crossing, which consists of three cable-stayed spans and an undersea tunnel, will replace the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, also in China, to become the world’s longest sea bridge by aggregate length.
The main bridge section will provide a dual three-lane carriageway to handle traffic speeds of up to 100km/h. Driving time from Hong Kong to Zhuhai will be reduced from four hours to about 30 minutes. A total of 400,000 tonnes of steel was used in the project, enough to construct 60 Eiffel Towers. The structure has been built to resist the impact of a magnitude-8 earthquake, super typhoon or 300,000-tonne cargo vessel. The bridge was originally scheduled to open in 2016 but construction of the Hong Kong section was delayed by a legal challenge over its environmental impact.