It’s not the longest bridge in the world (that title goes to the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, another bridge in China), but it was still a big deal when it officially opened earlier this week. Supporters of the thirty-four-mile-long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge hail how commutes between the southern Pearl River Delta region of China and Hong Kong, Zhuhai, and Macau will be cut down significantly. Critics, however, think the bridge is unnecessary (other modes of transportation, including a rail line, are already under works) and expensive (it cost a whopping $20 billion to construct the bridge!). To these critics, the reason behind building the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge isn’t to ease traffic; rather, it’s to physically display China’s connection to Hong Kong. Why is that such a big deal? Well, in 1842, China ceded Hong Kong to Britain after the Opium War. Later, China leased Hong Kong and 235 other islands to Britain for ninety-nine years. In 1997, Hong Kong was officially returned to China, but not before some ground rules were established, including how Hong Kong would retain certain aspects of its partially democratic government even while under communist rule. After all, the people of Hong Kong were afraid that under China rule, their freedoms would slowly be dismantled. Complicated, we know! Whether you’re a supporter or a critic, one thing’s for sure: The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is an impressive structure! Want some quick stats?
- Roughly 400,000 tons of steel were used to construct the bridge.
- It can withstand an 8.0 earthquake and a super typhoon.
- Accidental hit by a cargo vessel? No problem, because it’s built to take a beating!
- It’s technically a bridge and a tunnel, since a portion of the bridge is a tunnel that travels through the busy waters of the Pearl River Delta.
- It took almost nine years to build.