After eight years of construction and delays, the world’s largest sea bridge stretching from Hong Kong to Macau is finally set to open near Hong Kong International Airport.
The journey to build Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge was not an easy one. Construction involved driving 100 gigantic steel cylinders into a soft and deep seabed. The highway also becomes a construction tunnel. As it cuts across Hong Kong International’s flight path, the bridge’s engineers needed to comply with building heights regulations.
The bridge will play a significant role in commerce for Hong Kong International. In 2016, the Airport handled over four and a half million tonnes of air cargo. High-value goods like electronics and pharmaceuticals need to be shipped rapidly. Producers in the west and southwest will soon be able to transport these goods to the airport quickly across the bridge.
The airport also handled over 70million passengers that year. It connects over two hundred destinations including fifty in mainland China. The introduction of this bridge is set to make their transport to and from the airport much more seamless.
According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s airport operator are set to build a $3 bullion shortcut for passengers along the bridge. They will introduce a shuttle bus service operating on a link that will start at a customs centre on an artificial island. It will serve as a shortcut for passengers coming in from mainland China. Planning to start construction on the project in 2020, it should start when environmental permits are approved.
The airport currently already has many transportation links. There is already luxury car services and a ferry service. Ferries served over two and a half million customers from 2015-16. The introduction of shuttle bus services hopes to be a productive addition that does not “cannibalise” the sea service. Passengers who board at Zhuhai and Macau will pass through customs into sealed buses. The buses would then drive passengers into the ferry buiding. Coaches can park near the airport’s ferry terminal and use Hong Kong International’s underground train to move people into the restricted area. They will therefore no longer have to go through customs and immigration twice.
The brand new bridge opening this year is a significant 55 kilometres long. As the world’s largest sea bridge, it connects mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong, it plays a critical role contributing to building the ‘Guandong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area’.