China opens Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge | News | DW | 23.10.2018
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China opens Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge

At 55 kilometers, it's the world's longest sea-crossing bridge and connects the semi-autonomous cities of Hong Kong and Macau with mainland China. But the project was hit by delays, cost overruns and safety concerns.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday opened the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau, the world's longest sea-crossing bridge that links the semi-autonomous cities of Hong Kong and Macau with the city of Zhuhai on the Chinese mainland.

Construction began in 2009 but the project has been dogged by corruption prosecutions and the deaths of workers. Delays and cost overruns caused the final price tag of the 55-kilometer (34-mile) bridge to total around $20 billion (€17.5 billion).

Read more: China: World's longest glass bridge closes

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony

The bridge passes through the Pearl River Delta, an important manufacturing region, and is set to cut the time taken to cross the area from several hours to 30 minutes. Authorities will restrict access to the bridge to drivers who have applied for special permits.

China hopes the bridge will bolster economic growth in the region and promote integration between the mainland and the two semi-autonomous cities. Critics have denounced the project's impact on local wildlife.

Hong Kong and mainland China are already linked by a high-speed railway that opened in September.

The United Kingdom handed over control of Hong Kong to China in 1997 under an agreement that the city would retain partial independence from Beijing until 2047. Portugal transferred sovereignty over Macau to China in 1999.

amp/rt (AP,AFP)

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