Make-photos of the man-made islands of the main body of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. The picture above shows the East man-made island, connecting Hong Kong, pictured on July 5. The bottom picture shows the West man-made island, connecting the main body and leading to Zhuhai and Macao, pictured on July 4. (Photo taken by Xinhua News Agency)
BEIJING, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) - The newly built Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge stands tall like a dragon above the Lingding Sea as the cool October breeze caressed the waters underneath.
Whenever Yu Lie talks about the bridge, his eyes glisten with pride. From its planning in 2004 to completion in 2017, Engineer Yu Lie witnessed the project’s growth from nothing to one of the most epic tasks undertaken in the past 14 years. Now as a manager of the bridge, he will continue to look after it in years to come.
Stretching 55 kilometers in length, the project comprises of the main body of the bridge, an underwater tunnel as well as ports and connecting lines to Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao. After its completion, it will become the longest cross-sea bridge in the world. “The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge can be called as a masterpiece in the history of bridge construction. It embodies the wisdom and strength of the Chinese people in constructing bridges, which have been accumulated over thousands of years,” said Yu Lie.
From Lugou Bridge on Yongding River to Zhaozhou Bridge on Xiaohe River, from Luoyang Bridge on Luoyang River to Guangji Bridge on Hanjiang River, China, also known as a nation of bridges, has never lacked the courage for experiments and innovation in bridge construction since ancient times. This time around, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is no exception.
“It is incredible to imagine that a bridge crossing the vast sea will be created out of nowhere… But now, we have built it,” said Yu Lie. The bridge that connects three places and has turned a deep chasm into a thoroughfare was once merely a vision in people’s mind.
Yu Lie told reporters that Zhuhai, which is on the west bank of the Pearl River, had been mulling over having a bridge connecting Hong Kong since the 1980s. However, during those times, this grand dream over Lingding Sea was tagged “wishful thinking” of Zhuhai. “On one hand, there were no applicable technologies at all. For a variety of reasons, the proposal of constructing a bridge on Lingding Sea had been shelved until 2003 when Hong Kong proposed the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge,” said Yu Lie.
When the bridge is put into use, it will only take half an hour to ride from Zhuhai to Hong Kong or Macao. The three places that the bridge connects have now become the core area of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Not long ago, the National Development and Reform Commission, the People’s Government of Guangdong Province, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region jointly signed the Agreement on Deepening Cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao to Promote the Construction of the Greater Bay Area. It signifies that the construction of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has entered a new stage.
Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area takes up less than 1 percent of the national territory but has a population of over 60 million and a GDP contribution of up to 10 percent. It is a place with the most prosperous market economy in China. In the future, this area will become another world famous economic hub after New York Bay, Tokyo Bay and San Francisco Bay area.
Economists have high expectations for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which will not only connect the three cities but also serve as a cross-border channel linking the three places. The bridge will be regarded as a “backbone” of connectivity for Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, promoting the efficient flow and allocation of talents, logistics, capital and technologies. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will be built into an international first-class bay area and urban agglomeration.
Some experts think that the construction and completion of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will greatly enhance Zhuhai’s status as a transport hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay area. Through the driving effects of the bridge and with the coordination of Zhuhai Airport and Zhuhai Port, the city is expected to become a logistic and shipping center in the Pearl River’s west bank. By taking advantage of the development opportunities in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Zhuhai will be further integrated into global innovation network and accumulate high-end innovative factors.
Yu Lie lets his imagination run wild when it comes to the strategic significance of the bridge connecting three places, especially Zhuhai. “The bridge connects the three places in the first place and people’s hearts in the second place. When we have the same hearts, everything we do will be much easier.” Nowadays, residents of Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao are all thinking about how their lives will be changed by the bridge.
Besides its logistic and traffic functions, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is expected to be a channel for talents in the future, making Zhuhai a highland for international talents. Ms. Chi, originally from Heilongjiang province, has been staying in Hong Kong after acquiring her post-graduate diploma. “Hong Kong is very developed with many job opportunities. Life here is convenient. Therefore, this place is very attractive. However, high housing prices and exorbitant living costs discourage people from staying,” she said.
Ms. Chi is very excited about the completion of the bridge. For the past few months, she has been paying attention to news about the bridge. “Some of my Hong Kong friends have gone to Hengqin to start their businesses. This makes me eager to go, too. Lately, I’ve been thinking of going to Zhuhai to start a business with my friends,” she said. The high-profile people like Ms. Chi who wish to start their business in Zhuhai are not a minority. Take the Inno Valley in Hengqin Free Trade Zone as an example, it has attracted more than 1,700 young entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Macao, who have already built a batch of thriving Hong Kong and Macao startups.
According to the plan, the bridge will be open to traffic at the end of the year. In the tides of time, the stories of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Zhuhai will be staged one after another. (Reporter: Lv Guangyi)