Magnificent Metal Monday

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World’s longest sea-crossing bridge opens between Hong Kong and China

Built to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake, a super typhoon and strikes by super-sized cargo vessels, this 55-kilometer (34 mile) bridge incorporates 400,000 tons of steel — 4.5 times the amount in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and 60 times more steel than used to build the Eiffel Tower.

Opened last month, the $20-billion bridge connects Hong Kong and Macau to the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai, marking the completion of the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built, nine years after construction began.

The bridge cuts journey times between the cities from three hours to 30 minutes, which  will enable commuters and tourists to easily move around the region.  “With the bridge, the traveling time between Hong Kong and the Western Pearl River Delta region will be shortened significantly, thereby bringing the Western Pearl River Delta region within three hours’ drive from Hong Kong,” the city’s transport secretary, Frank Chan, said Friday.

Despite the focus on drive time however, private car owners in Hong Kong will need a special permit to cross the bridge. Most drivers will have to park at the Hong Kong port, switching to shuttle bus or special hire cars once they are through immigration.

It also includes a 6.7-kilometer (4-mile) submerged tunnel to help it avoid the busy shipping paths over the Pearl River Delta. The tunnel runs between two artificial islands, each measuring 100,000 square meters (1 million square feet) and situated in relatively shallow waters.

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Out of the top 9 longest bridges in the world, six are located in China.  While this new bridge may be the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, the longest bridge in the world, Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, spans 102 miles and is also located in China. 

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