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Chinese infrastructure: unusual bridge that connects Macau and Hong Kong

Author: 12.03.2018 | oddities, China
When skeptics say that the greatest things have already been built by humanity, pointing at various and really outstanding works of engineering thought, they are most often poorly informed and hardly look beyond developed Western countries. In the meanwhile, for example, in China, the state raises simply unheard of infrastructure projects. We are going to tell today about one of them - the impressive Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

The bridge, which according to forecasts will be officially opened in May this year is a real masterpiece of architecture, the value of which, even in a practical sense, is very difficult to overestimate. 55 kilometers of the most complicated structure, including spans over the Pearl River Delta and tunnels under it, will not only make life easier for drivers (as they do not have to make a 200-kilometer detour to get from Hong Kong to Macao) or vice versa, they will also conceptually fix that fact that China absorbs two former city-states, which gradually become part of one country. Soon all the way between them will take only 30 minutes instead of three hours, which is very important given the commercial, industrial and economic opportunities of two special cities for the Celestial Empire.


This project intended for connection of Macau and Hong Kong, which the authorities and the residents themselves could only dream about 15-20 years ago, became a reality due to the well-known British company Arup Group. Particularly, its specialists, taking into account the latest geo-exploration and design capabilities, were able to design the world's longest bridge . The local relief, delta with currents, active navigation and administrative specifics of the regions have added complications - until 2047, when Hong Kong finally joins China, there are certain customs rules of entry between Macau and it. That is why in some places the bridge is intersected by huge artificial floating islands, where drivers will be able not only to rest, refuel the car or fix it, but also pass passport control. It is on these floating islands-constructions that are secured by 120 giant steel piles, there will be entrances to the tunnel - part of the way through the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge runs under the water, about seven kilometers. This is the only one for today, a tunnel under water in the open sea in the world.


In general, the epithets "the most" and "the only one of its kind" can be applied, it seems, to all sides and parameters of this bridge, because to the object of national importance, China did not spare any means. According to the most conservative estimates, the budget of the "Macau-Hong Kong connection" is $ 14 billion, which allowed Chinese construction companies to implement the British-designed such a complex project in record time - for incomplete eight years, from the end of 2009 to the middle of 2017. The last six months there has been a different testing of the bridge, the elimination of minor problems and the development of the accelerated customs mechanism Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, with the involvement of the Hong Kong authorities, since the border will intersect almost "on-the-go", which means everything must be safe and clear, in order to avoid smuggling. It is said that the bureaucratic delays prevented the launch of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge back in 2017.


Like any other project of this scale, the bridge in its not longest history of existence has already managed to build up scandals and legends. And if the concerns of environmentalists were dethroned by specialists who coordinated the construction and managed to prove to the public that the crossing would not affect the ecosystem of the region, the fact that the construction of the traumatized and killed many builders, the Chinese press either ignores it, or bypasses. At the same time, it is difficult to recall any such huge construction that would have completely cost no victims, but as it is said in China, there were a lot of people wishing to work on the historical connection of Macau and Hong Kong, and even among ordinary builders, the competition was high, despite on all the risks and difficulties of work, count, on the high seas. The country and the people have coped with a serious task and now everyone is looking forward to the opening of the bridge, which, according to calculations and guarantees, will solve the geographic problem for 120 years - this is its lifetime.


A few more impressive facts and figures about Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge

- 400 thousand tons of steel were used for construction. In order to understand this volume, it should be said that about 60 Eiffel towers could be built from it.

- When creating the object, the most modern damping technologies and materials were used, which would allow the bridge to sustain gusts of wind at a speed of 180 kilometers per hour and earthquakes to 8 points on the Richter scale.

- Car traffic will be carried out on three lanes in each direction. They will be able to move at a speed of one hundred kilometers per hour, and the capacity itself is expected in the region of 30-40 vehicles per minute in a few years after launch.

- The average height of the bridge above the water is five meters, width is about thirty. As for the tunnels, their depth is 40 meters.

- According to specialists from 2011 to 2013, China used almost the same amount of cement for its construction works as it did in the USA for the entire twentieth century. A significant proportion of this amount of building materials was just for the creation of all the necessary infrastructure for Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, because apart from the crossing itself, the project includes various works and smaller objects "on land" - both in Macau and Hong Kong.

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