HONG KONG world's longest sea bridge will open on Tuesday and trip 34 miles across China's Pearl River estuary to…
HONG KONG world’s longest sea bridge will open on Tuesday and trip 34 miles across China’s Pearl River estuary to form a pillar in Beijing planning to merge 11 cities in the southern region of a megalopolis.
At 20 times the length of California’s Golden Gate Bridge, the crossing of six crossings will link a regional economic zone of 70 million people, with a total annual GDP of $ 1.51 billion, almost twice as large for the San Francisco Bay Area , and larger than the national economies of Australia, Spain or Mexico. The nine-year construction project joins a newly launched high-speed rail to reduce travel times and increase the business relationship between Chinese manufacturing towns in the mainland and Hong Kong’s financial center and the Macau cache.
The links are part of a plan to create an integrated region that officials have called the “Greater Bay Area”. The source will place Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese city of Zhuhai within an hour of each other. Pointing out the importance of the project, President Xi Jinping is a honorary guest at official opening Tuesday, reported local media, referring to government sources.
Mr. Xi plans to build China’s Silicon Valley will need more than infrastructure to succeed. Hong Kong and Macau are both former Western colonies promised a high degree of autonomy until the middle of this century: They have their own legal and political systems and residents have greater freedoms than their continents on the mainland. In Hong Kong, there is particular concern that these rights are being eradicated and that Beijing’s ultimate goal is to swallow up the city to the mainland.
Steps towards further integration for facial complications like various legal and tax systems as well as varying levels of internet freedom. China still has a relatively closed capital account, while Hong Kong and Macau are free ports with their own currencies and no capital rules.
Hong Kong has paid about $ 15 billion for completion of the bridge and associated building costs. In return, the city will “take a more proactive role in the development of the Greater Bay area,” said Hong Kong’s chief transport manager Frank Chan, referring to trade, finance, logistics and tourism ties.
Some Hong Kong lawmakers question whether the investment will pay and if political strings will be attached.
“We are still very skeptical about what the bridge will give Hong Kong,” said Alvin Yeung, the National Party’s boss. “This is another symbolic project to put Hong Kong on the mainland.”
The question of who can use the Y-shaped bridge, which opens for traffic on Wednesday, underlines the challenges of integrating three different systems. In Hong Kong and Macao, traffic is on the left side of the road. On the mainland drive people to the right. Solution? Cars change side of the road at a specially built merging point, located at the viaduct at the bridge bridge in Hong Kong. Private vehicle owners also need separate licenses for each city subject to strict quotas, which makes it impractical for most drivers.
During the construction, the project was damaged by the death of a number of workers and an investigation of counterfeit concrete tests.
The project consists of three cable bridges with connecting roads and a subway run through artificial islands. The government has said it is built to be a century and to resist earthquakes and storm storms. The bridge remained undone after a super-typhoon called Mangkhut sucked out office windows and dropped hundreds of trees over the city on September 14th.
President Xi has made it clear that the development of southern China into a high-tech region is a priority, one goal was made even more important by the escalating trade dispute with the United States and as the nation’s economic growth rose to 6.5% in the third quarter, the slowest then pace the global financial crisis.
Guangdong Province, where nine of the 11 major Bay Area cities are located, China’s economic liberalization began 40 years ago. Xi Xi, father, Xi Zhongxun, then served as governor there, sent by Beijing to implement the reform policy in Shenzhen.
While only 1% of China’s land mass remains, twice the size of San Francisco Bay Area-Greater Bay Area, 37% of the country’s total exports and 12% of GDP, according to a report from August 2018 by HSBC. The bank expects that nearly 45% of China’s technical companies will be based in the province in 2025.
-Yifan Wang contributed to this article.
Write to Natasha Khan at [email protected]