The world's longest sea-crossing bridge has officially opened in China. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is a symbol of progress.
The bridge connects the cities of Hong Kong, Macau, and Zhuhai across the Pearl River Delta. It spans 34 miles (55 kilometers), cost around $20 billion, and took seven years to build.
The structure was erected using 400,000 tonnes of steel, the equivalent to 60 Eiffel Towers. The surface area of the bridge is 700,000 square meters, which is about the size of 98 football fields.
It was designed to resist the impact of typhoons and earthquakes and cuts down total traveling time from four hours to 30 minutes.
Are you feeling tired? If so, take a rest. The bridge is equipped with cameras that detect yawning. But there's more - every time drivers cross the structure they will be submitted to blood pressure checks.
Citizens from Hong Kong will have to have a special permit to drive their cars on the bridge. Alternatively, they can always take a private shuttle bus.
A Controversial Project
The new Chinese toll bridge has been heavily criticized in the local media. At least 18 workers died, and hundreds more were injured during the construction.
The project also features two artificial islands, an underwater tunnel, and a channel that allows ships to navigate from one side of the bridge to the other.
The mega bridge is curved, as its piers are placed in the direction of water flow. The two-way lane highway has a designed speed of 62 mph (100 km/h).
Environmental organizations have also stressed that the project reduced the number of dolphins near Hong Kong from 148 to 47 in the past decade.
But the Chinese authorities believe that the world's longest sea bridge will generate up to $1.44 trillion for the national economy and that the structure will improve the lives of the 68 million people that live in the region.