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The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Opens Despite Engineering & Regulatory Challenges

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Opens Despite Engineering & Regulatory Challenges

CHINA: The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge has finally been launched by China’s President Xi Jinping. Boosting a length of 55km, it is currently the world’s longest steel bridge and functions to connect Hong Kong, Macau and China. As commented by the bridge’s chief engineer, Lin Ming, from China Communications Construction, the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge was completed despite differences in building and engineering standards between Hong Kong and China as well as a diversity of technical and construction challenges.

A feat that has come after ten years of negotiations on areas such as peripheral landscaping and construction scheduling between both countries with Lin stating that Chinese engineers and technicians had struggled to comprehend the logic and operational procedures of Hong Kong’s engineering team, who had inherited rules and regulations from the colonial era.

The project’s cost of US$7 billion would be paid for by Hong Kong, Macau and China’s Guangdong province in a tripartite deal, which also mandated that the construction of the main segment of the bridge will be done by China for the sake of efficiency. This includes a 6.7km tunnel section as well as two artificial islands. Although, the Zhuhai-based bridge authority held the final say in all issues pertaining to the bridge, Lin has acknowledged that Hong Kong’s input and collaboration contributed to the development of engineering standards that were closer to the international level.

Deputy Chief Engineer Yin Haiqing also added that the bridge’s bituminous and concrete components and trusses was designed to last 120 years versus the mainland’s prevailing 100-year standard. Signifying the authorities decision to adopt the highest possible standards during the bridge’s construction. Additionally,during the reclamation work on Hong Kong’s boundary crossing facilities which amounted to US$4.58 billion, the city’s Development Bureau adopted grounding breaking Japanese techniques of installing steel sheet piles on the seabed to form cellular structures for the support of a man made island rather than the Chinese method of piling prefabricated circular steel cells to form a stable foundation.

Thus, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge which was built to withstand a magnitude eight earthquake, a super typhoon and strikes by mega cargo vessels, is an engineering feat that incorporates 400,000 tons of steel. This equates to four and a half times the amount in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

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