Hong Kong Politics & Protest Travel & Transport

A bridge so far? Controversial megaproject linking Hong Kong, Macau and China nears completion

Touted as an engineering wonder, the world’s longest sea bridge, which connects Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, includes a snaking road crossing and an underwater tunnel and reportedly uses enough steel to build 60 Eiffel Towers.

Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. File photo: GovHK.

Nine years after construction began on the 55-kilometre (34-mile) crossing, a preview organised by the Chinese government this week offered a first peek into the megaproject.

Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge

Photo: GovHK.

The bridge will link Hong Kong to the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai and the gambling enclave of Macau, cutting across the waters of the Pearl River Estuary.

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Photo: GovHK.

Although the opening date has not been confirmed, officials expect the bridge to be in use for 120 years and say it will boost business by cutting travel time by 60 percent.

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Construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. File Photo: GovHK.

The 420,000 tonnes of steel used for the project represent 60 times the amount used in the Eiffel Tower, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge

File Photo: GovHK.

Gao Xinglin, the bridge’s project planning manager, said the construction of the 6.7-kilometre underwater tunnel gave him sleepless nights.

anthony cheung hk zhuhai macau bridge

Photo: GovHK.

“There were many nights where I couldn’t fall asleep, because there were too many difficulties during the construction,” Gao told reporters Wednesday.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge

Construction site of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. File Photo: GovHK.

“Linking the 80,000-tonne pipes under the sea with watertight technology was the most challenging,” he added.

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Construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. File Photo: GovHK.

The total price tag for the project, which includes artificial islands, linked roads and new border-crossing facilities, is unclear but some estimates run to over 100 billion yuan ($15.1 billion), leading critics to slam it as a costly white elephant.

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Construction site of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. File photo: HKFP/Tom Grundy.

Opponents in Hong Kong say the project is part of Beijing’s drive to tighten its grip on the semi-autonomous city.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Photo: Transport and Housing Bureau.

Dogged by delays, budget overruns, accusations of corruption and the deaths of construction workers, the bridge failed to open by the end of 2017 as hoped.

hk zhuhai macau bridge

Photo: GovHK.

There have also been safety concerns after 19 lab workers were charged over faking concrete test reports, with one man jailed last December.

A bridge so far? Controversial megaproject linking Hong Kong, Macau and China nears completion