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Watch: World's longest cross-sea bridge opens on Tuesday

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Watch: World's longest cross-sea bridge opens on Tuesday

Watch: World's longest cross-sea bridge opens on Tuesday
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AP
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The world's longest cross-sea bridge, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, in Zhuhai city, that connects the east and west sides of the Pearl River Delta in South China will officially open today (Tuesday).

The 55-kilometre bridge that will be opened for traffic on Wednesday morning, slashes through the Pearl River Estuary, lessening the travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from 4 hours to 45 minutes.

The main section of the project is a 22.9 km bridge and a 6.7 km underwater tunnel.

The bridge is part of Beijing's "Greater Bay Area" Scheme, aiming to provide better passenger and freight land transport between Hong Kong and mainland China, transforming the Guangdong province into a more functional business hub.

Consultancy studies estimate that 29,000 vehicles and 126,000 passengers will cross the bridge daily by 2030.

The bridge was scheduled to be launched in 2016 but the project was held up due to various problems including a judicial review on environmental factors, corruption, workplace accidents, cost overruns and safety concerns.

The multibillion dollar bridge project has sparked mixed feelings in the city since the beginning of its construction in 2009.

The Hong Kong government has issued 10,000 permits for private cars, in which 5000 permits will be issued after its opening. And the land transport logistic companies in Hong Kong are one of the sectors expecting to benefit from the bridge.

But the ambiguous symbolism of a physical connection to the mainland has not been lost on activists in Hong Kong, many of whom see the project as primarily political in nature.

In addition to political concerns, activists in Hong Kong are worried about the safety of the bridge as local media reports in April showed that the interlocking concrete blocks of the artificial island that connect the bridge and tunnel were drifting away.

Authorities have investigated the issue and claimed that the blocks were designed to submerge randomly.

The opening ceremony of the bridge will be held in Zhuhai.