20 December 2009

a bridge to stretch the imagination

Currently, the only way to travel between Hong Kong and Macau is by ferry (high speed hydrofoil), which takes about an hour (by Turbojet or Costai). To go via land, particularly for transporting heavy goods, means travelling via the mainland, taking the long way around.

Construction of a bridge between Hong Kong and Macau (and Zuhai) will commence at the end of this year, which will be one of the largest engineering feats devised. According to the HKSAR Highways Department,
The proposed Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge (HZMB), being situated at the waters of Lingdingyang of Pearl River Estuary, is a large sea crossing linking the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Zhuhai City of Guangdong Province and Macao Special Administrative Region. The functions of the bridge are to meet the demand of passenger and freight land transport among Hong Kong, the Mainland (particularly the region of Pearl River West) and Macao, to establish a new land transport link between the east and west coasts of the Pearl River, and to enhance the economic and sustainable development in the three places.
The HZMB Main Bridge is a 29.6km dual 3-lane carriageway in the form of bridge-cum-tunnel structure comprising an immersed tunnel of about 6.7 km. According to the current option, It runs from the artificial island off Gongbei of Zhuhai to the eastern artificial island for the tunnel section just west of the HKSAR boundary.

The project includes:

  • construction of a 29.6 km dual three-lane carriageway in the form of bridge-cum-tunnel structure comprising a tunnel of about 6.7 km;
  • construction of two artificial islands for the tunnel landings west of the HKSAR boundary; and
  • associated works including civil and structural works, environmental mitigation, drainage, electrical and mechanical, traffic control and surveillance system, etc.

The bridge is designed with a service life of 120 years. It will be built to withstand the impact of strong winds up to a speed of with a speed of 16 on the Beaufort scale (184 to 201km/h), a magnitude-8 earthquake and a 300,000-tonne vessel.

When completed, it will be the longest sea bridge in the world.

- The Guardian
- Arup, one of the partners building the bridge
- New Civil Engineer (UK)

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