Viet Nam News
ZHUHAI, China — China’s President Xi Jinping officially opened the world’s longest sea bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China on Tuesday.
The 55-kilometre crossing, which includes a snaking road bridge and underwater tunnel, links Hong Kong with the southern mainland city of Zhuhai and the gambling enclave of Macau, across the waters of the Pearl River Estuary.
Xi presided over an inauguration ceremony attended by Hong Kong’s and Macau’s city leaders at a new port terminal in Zhuhai.
"I declare the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge officially open," Xi said in a one-line address, as digital fireworks exploded on a screen behind him at the indoor ceremony, before leaving the stage immediately.
China’s Vice Premier Han Zheng characterised the bridge as part of the development of the Greater Bay Area -- a Beijing-driven project to create an economic hub linking nine southern mainland cities to Hong Kong and Macau.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the bridge would help transform Hong Kong from a "connector to a more active participant".
It is the second major infrastructure project tying Hong Kong to mainland China to launch in a matter of weeks, after the opening of a high-speed rail link last month that sparked criticism Hong Kong was giving away territory -- with part of the terminus coming under mainland jurisdiction.
The main section of the new bridge is also considered mainland territory, even though Hong Kong was slated to pay at least half the cost of the project, according to the original blueprint from the city’s government.
Hong Kong cars and drivers travelling over it "must comply with the laws and regulations of the mainland", the city’s transport department said.
Building began in 2009 and has been dogged by delays, budget overruns, corruption prosecutions and the deaths of construction workers.
The total price tag is unclear but some estimates run to over 100 billion yuan (US$14.4 billion). — AFP