In China, the longest sea bridge in the world at a cost of 20 billion dollars
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) - Within a few months, the Pearl River estuary, once a vast waterfront, will be filled with cars and buses traveling between mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao by the longest sea bridge in the world. 55 kilometers, called the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge.
Although many officials, including the assistant director and chief engineer of the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge, Guo Shenglin, were proud of the $ 20 billion monument, the bridge has been controversial since its first proposal in 2003.
In the midst of tensions between the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, some point out that the bridge is symbolic construction more than a practical goal, which many see as material embodiment of the Chinese government's determination to strengthen its regional influence.
The bridge will pave the way for a regional merger between Hong Kong, China and Macao, which has been hampered by legal differences, currency differences and language, said CBK Hong Kong head of commercial real estate consultancy CBRC Hong Kong.
The merger will eventually lead to economic growth aimed at matching the strength of the different Gulf regions around the world, such as the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Tokyo.
In addition to the economy, the bridge will reduce transportation time between the three areas from three hours to half an hour.
The bridge will enhance the tourism sector because it will enable tourists to travel from Hong Kong airport to Macau within 45 minutes. "At present, Hong Kong tourists who come from mainland China tend to travel by air and stay for a day or two for shopping, What they visit elsewhere in the mouth of the Pearl River. "
But Hong Kong's independent democracy-promoting legislator, Claudia Mo, believes the bridge is a waste of money. "In terms of linking the mainland with Hong Kong, we already have air, land and sea links. Why do we need this additional project?"
Like many critics, Mu believes that building the bridge is a political goal of gaining control, following the 1990 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that rocked the country.
"Hong Kong is overflowing ... We already have more tourists than in the whole of the UK," Mo said.
The number of tourists in Hong Kong in 2016 reached 56.7 million, while the UK received only 37.6 million tourists.
Other criticisms of the bridge include many environmental concerns. Environmental groups such as WWF and the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Association argued that the presence of the bridge would increase the risk to white dolphins.
Despite all the criticism, the bridge is still an exceptional engineering achievement, built to withstand an earthquake of magnitude eight, and strong hurricanes.
The bridge contains 400,000 tons of steel, 4.5 times the amount used at San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
Another advantage of the bridge is that part of it is submerged under water, up to 6.7 kilometers long, according to Goo.
The bridge will open this summer, with the official opening scheduled for 2016 being delayed.