The longest bridge in the world built over the sea was recently inaugurated. It is true that, in popular thought, the image of the Golden gate It is the one that probably comes to mind when we think of wonderful bridges. However, it will only be a matter of time before this engineering colossus earns its rightful place.
It is around 20 times longer than the Golden Gate and, with its 55 km, surpasses two other Chinese colossi: the bridge that runs along the Qingdao coastline (42.5 km) and the one that connects Hangzhou and Ningbo (37, 5 km). If any other country wants to enter this classification, it will have to overcome not one, but three representatives of the Asian country.
The bridge was designed to unite the Hong Kong and Macao regions with mainland China. The objective is to strengthen industry and commerce in the area, which includes 11 cities and almost 70 million people, providing a new option for the transport of cargo and passengers. It starts on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, and reaches an artificial island between Macao and Zhuhai. At this point the immigration controls are located.
Construction started in 2009But the complexity of offshore construction, as well as other complications that arose as work progressed, caused delays and excessive costs that were not anticipated. An investment of billions of euros was necessary, but it was finally inaugurated.
It is a significant construction not only from an engineering point of view, but from a social point of view. It connects two completely different economic systems: capitalism and socialism, with all that that entails.
The engineering behind the project
The work has 55 kilometers long and it allows to travel the distance between its extremes in less than an hour, in contrast to the 4 hours that were necessary before its construction. The works for the raising of the bridge included the construction of giant pillars to allow navigation under it, as well as the construction of two artificial islands and 6.7 kilometers of underwater tunnel. Were necessary 400,000 tons of steel, which is equivalent to 40 Eiffel Towers, at least, and more than a million cubic meters of cement, which gives an idea of the magnitude of the work.
The majesty of the work was somewhat overshadowed by the number of incidents that occurred during its construction, as it is estimated that at least a dozen workers died. In addition to this, ecological associations denounced the environmental impact that the bridge would have on the local fauna, which already faces significant risks … and at least three technicians were brought to trial for having falsified resistance tests of the concrete used.
However, visitors can walk it quietly. Specialists say that it can withstand earthquakes of up to 8 degrees, winds of up to 340 kilometers per hour and that it will last at least 120 years standing.