China Finally Ready To Showcase World's Longest Cross-Sea Bridge


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


The bridge/tunnel complex, being constructed here in 2016, seen over the Lingdingyang channel. EQRoy/Shutterstock

It’s difficult to deny that although plenty of countries could claim technological superiority, the speed and scale that China builds is impossible not to marvel at, from its ability to raise islands from the seafloor in a matter of weeks to its appearance of megacities, waiting to be populated.

China also happens to have been working on the world’s longest cross-sea bridge. It’s been in development for seven years, but this year – after originally being set to open in 2016 – it’ll finally be unveiled to the world. According to Al Jazeera, it’s 55 kilometers (34 miles) long, and will connect Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China’s Guangdong province.


As a point of (perhaps unfair) comparison, this megaproject is roughly 20 times longer than the Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s reportedly constructed using more steel than 60 Eiffel Towers. Featuring three sections of bridge and an undersea tunnel, it also required the construction of four artificial islands. The main section of the so-called Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB) was completed back in 2017, but additional work was required before this year’s grand opening.

According to the official HZMB website, it’s designed to operate for 120 years. Typhoon resistance, water flow, and “high environmental standards” are said to have all been taken into account.

Some projects are too colossal to be produced by a single nation alone, and even the world’s (arguably) rising second superpower can’t shy away from this increasingly globalized world. By all accounts, it’s a huge international endeavor: experts from the UK, America, Japan, and at least 11 other countries are involved in the construction process to some degree.


Although the opening date has yet to be confirmed, foreign media has been invited to take a look at the crossing this very week. The idea is that the bridge will dramatically cut travel time between the provinces, which may be seen as a boon to the country – but the “one country, two systems” idiosyncrasy of Hong Kong and Macau’s situation has reportedly caused some anxiety.

As noted by the Hong Kong Free Press, some are concerned that the bridge is an implicit way for the Chinese state to gain more direct control over semi-autonomous Hong Kong. There have also been accusations of corruption and accounts of the death of a construction worker during the making of the enormous bridge. In total, the project is estimated to have cost a whopping $15.1 billion, which some have criticized as being exorbitantly expensive.

Kellykaneshiro via HZMB/Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA-4.0

Incidentally, in case you were wondering, the longest bridge of any type is also found in China. The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, part of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, is 165 kilometers (about 102 miles) long.

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