China’s President (lifetime) Xi Jinping has formally opened the world’s longest sea crossing and therefore connected Macau and Hong Kong to the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.
The sea crossing is dubbed to be the longest in the world and spans 55 kms (including access roads, bridges, and tunnels). The bridge will open to regular traffic on Wednesday.
The bridge, an architectural feat, is being met with mixed reviews by residents of Hong Kong. While many are happy the passage will ease connectivity, and accordingly trade, others are skeptical of the intentions of mainland China and believe the bridge is yet another attempt by China to exert greater control over Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and enjoys a high degree of autonomy, allowing more freedom to its citizens, which China continually attempts to undermine.
The bridge is a part of China’s plan to create a Greater Bay Area, including Hong Kong, Macau and nine other cities in southern China. It will link the financial hub of Hong Kong to the relatively less developed western reaches of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province, as well as the former Portuguese colony and gambling hub of Macau. The area is currently home to 68 million people.
In the past, travelling between Zhuhai and Hong Kong would take up to four hours – the new bridge cuts this down to 30 minutes.