After years of construction, world's longest sea bridge set to open

Macau operates on the same “One Country Two Systems” principle designed to safeguard local freedoms as Hong Kong

Macau operates on the same “One Country Two Systems” principle designed to safeguard local freedoms as Hong Kong

China has opened the world's longest ocean-crossing bridge connecting the mainland with Hong Kong and Macau, the latest sign of Beijing's tightening grip on its semi-autonomous territories. This figure also includes an underground tunnel which is approximately 4.1 miles (6.7 km) long and allows ships to easily pass over the roadway.

It is reported that Xi's motorcade hopped onto the bridge immediately after the ceremony and purred across the boundary between mainland and Hong Kong waters. The project is also believed to have run to over 130 billion yuan (£14 billion), according to the Daily Mail.

While undeniably impressive, the project has faced significant criticism due to its cost, delays, and multiple worker deaths and injuries.

The bridge cuts the journey between Zhuhai and Hong Kong from four hours to 30 minutes, but not everyone will have access - private auto owners looking to cross must have separate permits for each city, which are subject to a quota, and pay a toll. And the land transport logistic companies in Hong Kong are one of the sectors expecting to benefit from the bridge.

Comments on a Hong Kong government video explaining the process mocks the supposedly simple process for being unduly bureaucratic, and notes that Hong Kong residents can simply take a ferry to Macau, for instance, without any such requirements.

"I declare the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge officially open", Xi said as digital fireworks exploded on a screen behind him in an indoor ceremony, before leaving the stage immediately.

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Hong Kong media reported that special cameras will monitor bus drivers and alert authorities if they yawn too many times as they drive across. Its construction is said to have depleted the number of dolphins in Hong Kong and they can no longer be found in the waters around the bridge. Seven people died while building the bridge, and another 275 were injured, according to Griffiths and Lazarus. The bridge will be accessible to traffic starting Wednesday, but private drivers will need a permit to be able to cross it.

"The bridge will cut the once arduous journey, from Zhuhai to Hong Kong, to just half an hour, but this is just a piece of the puzzle".

On behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, expressed honest thanks and warm greetings to those who participated in the design, building, and management of the bridge. Britain handed over control of the Hong Kong to mainland China in 1997.

And conservationists say the construction has led to falling numbers of the threatened Chinese white dolphin.

"We can clearly see that the dolphins in North Lantau area nearly disappeared in the whole area, close to the bridge construction", he said.

Pro-democracy politician Eddie Chu told The Guardian the bridge was "basically redundant" after officials claimed traffic on the bridge would see about 25 per cent less traffic by 2030 because of another competing bridge.

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