After years of construction, world's longest sea bridge set to open

Mr Zheng Xiaosong the head of China's liaison office to Macau had been suffering from depression the Hong Kong and Macau Office of the Chinese government's State Council said in a statement

Check out magnificent pictures of world's largest sea-crossing bridge between Hong-Kong and China

Xi said nothing during the inauguration of the bridge on Tuesday morning other than to declare it officially open to a burst of fireworks projected onto a screen behind him.

China already lays claim to the record for the world's longest bridge of any kind - the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, a viaduct which is part of a high-speed rail line.

The $20 billion bridge took nearly a decade to build while incurring major delays and cost overruns.

The new bridge will connect Macau and Hong Kong - semi-autonomous regions - with Zhuhai, in China's southern Guangdong province.

But engineers say the structure will significantly cut down travel time, from four hours between Hong Kong and Zhuhai to just 45 minutes.

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The bridge had been under construction for almost 10 years.

The bridge incorporates 400,000 tons of steel to withstand against natural disasters.

The bridge is expected to open to traffic on Wednesday, though only certain vehicles - shuttles, freight cars, and private cars with permits - are allowed to cross.

The main section of the new bridge is also considered mainland territory, even though Hong Kong was slated to pay at least half the cost of the project, according to the original blueprint from the city's government.

That carries major political significance for Xi's administration, which has rejected calls for political liberalization in Hong Kong, sparking fears Beijing will clamp down further on civil liberties before the end of the "one country, two systems" arrangement in 2047.

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While an impressive engineering feat, the building of the bridge brought its own controversies.

"The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is not only a useful infrastructure project, it is also a lovely infrastructure project, especially for those who come back to Hong Kong by plane - when planes land at the Hong Kong International Airport, they will be attracted to this marvellous bridge". That line has vastly decreased travel times but also raised concerns about Beijing's growing influence because mainland Chinese law applies within part of the line's Hong Kong terminus. "We would hardly use the bridge".

"We have to transform the valuable experiences from this project into industry standards in order to go global with China's bridge construction skills, and make contributions to the "One Belt One Road" initiative", Han said.

"Similar to many other infrastructures, the utilization rate of the Bridge will increase gradually given more time and experience", Chan said. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) Cable cars move in front of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge off Lantau island in Hong Kong, China October 21, 2018, before its opening ceremony on October 23, 2018.

Hong Kong media reported that special cameras will monitor bus drivers and alert authorities if they yawn too many times as they drive across. Rebecca Ko, a resident of Hong Kong said, "It wasted a lot of Hong Konger's money".

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Critics have also taken aim at the possible environmental effects the bridge will have on numbers of the critically endangered Chinese white dolphins in the area.

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