April 28, 2016
The Pearl River Delta (PRD) in Guangdong province is one of the main hubs of China’s economic growth. The industrial cities of the PRD have been called the “Factory of the World” and the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone (PRDEZ) accounts for approximately one third of China’s trade value. The PRD is also one of the most densely urbanised regions in the world with a combined population of around 57 million in the nine largest cities of the region which include Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau.
The PRDEZ is divided by the Pearl River Estuary. Road transport between the east and western sides currently involves a 200km journey via the Humen Bridge located to the north. The governments of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong are now building a bridge over the estuary to provide a direct link for passengers and freight, alleviating the heavy traffic congestion at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen frontier checkpoints and reducing the economic losses arising from the daily hold-up at these border crossings.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will link Hong Kong to Macau and the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province. The main bridge will extend for 29.6km from Macau over the western portion of the Pearl River Estuary. It will land on an artificial island which is connected to another artificial island by a 6.7km long underwater tunnel. The bridge then continues to mainland Hong Kong creating a combined bridge and tunnel structure. The bridge's dual three-track highway will reduce travel time between Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai from four hours to just 30 minutes.
THE LONGEST SEA BRIDGE IN THE WORLD
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is one of the world’s major infrastruc- ture projects. It will be the longest sea bridge in the world with total length of 50km. Nearly 10,000 tons of Alloy 2304 (UNS S32304) nickel-containing duplex stainless steel rebar, rod and wire have been specified to achieve its design life of 120 years. The Alloy 2304 compo- nents supplied by Taiyuan Iron & Steel Company (TISCO) will be used for the bridge bearing platform, tower founda- tion and pier shaft. This is the first time duplex stainless steel has been used in bridge construction in mainland China.
The total cost of the project is esti- mated to be US $10.6bn (70bn yuan), which is the largest investment in the history of Chinese bridge construction. Construction of the bridge commenced on 15 December 2009, and is currently due for completion in 2018.