World’s Longest Sea-Crossing Bridge Opening in China

Span between Hong Kong and Macau took a grand total of nine years and $20 billion to build.

China bridge
The longest sea-crossing bridge is opening this week in China. (Li Zhihua/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)
VCG via Getty Images

The world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, connecting Hong Kong and Macau to mainland China is set to open Wednesday after a ceremony marshaled by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Tuesday’s celebration honors the 34-mile bridge, which is finally opening after years of delays pushed back the original target date from 2016. It’s estimated that the bridge will cut commute times between the cities from three hours to about 30 minutes.

The shorter trip will only benefit some of the area’s drivers, however, as a special permit will be required to drive on the bridge. Instead of making the journey themselves, many will be forced to park on one side and hop on a shuttle bus — which could cost $8 to $10 per crossing — to their destination city, CNN reported.

Although quite the engineering feat — 4.5 times more steel was used than the Golden Gate Bridge —the bridge faces other criticisms as well. It’s seen as a political link by some who oppose the Chinese government. Critics believe it to be a way for Beijing to rein in democratic-leaning Hong Kong, according to the news site.

The bridge also poses a threat to an endangered population of Chinese white dolphins that live in the Pearl River area beneath the expanse.

Some 275 workers were injured and seven killed in accidents over the course of the bridge’s construction, leading to several fines issued by Hong Kong courts.

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