The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) opens to the public on Oct 24, after nine years of construction. CGTN takes a look at the major highlights of building the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge:
The construction project broke ground with Chinese engineers resolute to prove their innovation in the field of engineering.
The whole project comprises 22.9 kilometers of steel bridges, two artificial islands, and the world’s longest submerged sea tunnel. The mammoth structure is meant to meet the demand of passenger and freight land transport between the Chinese mainland and its Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions (SARs), and to establish a new land transport link between the eastern and western banks of the Pearl (Zhujiang) River.
The construction of the tunnel and artificial islands formally began.
The 6.7-kilometer tunnel at a depth of 40 meters is the world’s longest submerged sea tunnel. Two artificial islands, covering an area of 200,000 square meters, help create a smooth transition between the bridge sections and the tunnels.
HZMB’s first steel box girder was erected in the Deep Water Zone.
The HZMB is formed of box girders, amounting to 420,000 tons of steel — roughly the weight of 60 Eiffel Towers or 10 Beijing National Stadiums.
The girders, each measuring 132.6 meters in length, were assembled in Zhongshan, Guangzhou city, and later shipped 40 kilometers to the construction site.
Qingzhou Channel Bridge pylons of the HZMB were capped.
The steel pylon with a height of 160 meters and a weight of over 3,000 tons at 90 degrees above the sea is an unprecedented practice in the history of the world’s bridge construction.
HZMB’s Zhuhai connection line, which links the north Hengqin and Hongwan interchanges, was officially opened on January 28, 2016.
The Zhuhai connection line is an important part of the HZMB. It starts from an artificial island in the Zhuhai-Macao port and ends at Hongwan, spanning 13.43 kilometers.
Steel girders closed the last cap in the final arch and the structure was ready to be paved.
The bridge and tunnel system spanning the Pearl River estuary is an important waymark in the integration of Guangdong province and the Hong Kong and Macao SARs.
HZMB’s Gongbei Tunnel was completed.
The 2,741-meter-long Gongbei Tunnel is 21 meters high with an excavation area of 336.8 square meters, bigger than any highway tunnel in the world, according to the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC).
The main section of the HZMB was completed.
The HZMB will cut travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from three hours to merely 30 minutes, further integrating the cities in the Pearl River Delta, and accelerating the economic and sustainable development of the three places.
The HZMB was illuminated on New Year’s Eve to mark the completion of its main structure.
The HZMB passed the quality inspection and was ready for traffic. The inspection came after a ceremony at the end of 2017 to mark the completion of the main body’s construction.
Cross-border buses operated by Hong Kong companies on Sept 28 started trial runs on the HZMB prior to the bridge’s upcoming operation.