China opens mega-bridge linking Hong Kong to mainland

China opens mega-bridge linking Hong Kong to mainland

China opens mega-bridge linking Hong Kong to mainland

The $20 billion bridge took nearly a decade to build while incurring major delays and cost overruns.

"It is a politically driven mega-project without urgent need", pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu told The Guardian, saying another bridge will drop its traffic flow by 25 percent by 2030.

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 Macau-bound service will then go on to call at several Cotai resorts: Sand's China's Venetian Macao; MGM China's MGM Cotai; and Galaxy Entertainment's Galaxy Macau.

In 2016, Hong Kong saw 56.7 million tourist arrivals, compared to 37.6 million for the United Kingdom, a much larger country. From Macau, the service will run between 7.00am and 4.30am the next day, according to the firm's provisional timetable.

The $15 billion, 55-kilometer (34-mile) bridge is the world's longest sea link and is tipped to carry some 29,000 cars and trucks daily between Zhuhai on the mainland and Hong Kong. To save time. The land journey around the delta takes at least four hours - the new bridge is to cut it to a mere 30 minutes.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to attend a ceremony in Zhuhai on Tuesday, along with top officials from Hong Kong and Macau, with the bridge opening to public traffic Wednesday.

Hong Kong residents will only be granted a licence to cross into Zhuhai by vehicle if they meet highly selective criteria, including holding certain mainland government positions or making major contributions to charities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

Environmentalists also warned the bridge would have a devastating impact on a remarkable and already critically endangered species of pink dolphin in the Pearl River estuary.

According to an estimate by BBC Chinese, the bridge will only earn around $86m in tolls per year. Experts fear the bridge construction, in addition to expansion of the local airport, have sounded the death knell for the species, and governmental conservation efforts will prove to be too little too late.

The access to the bridge will be restricted. Most drivers will have to park their own cars after getting through immigration and switch to shuttle buses or private hire cars to get across the bridge, CNN reported. Seven workers died in constructing the bridge, and another 275 were injured. And its planners hope the new connection boosts economic ties in a region that includes Hong Kong, Macau and cities in Guangdong Province.

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