Chinese President Xi Jinping officially opened the world’s longest sea bridge today (October 23) at a ceremony in Zhuhai. Accompanied by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and PRC Vice Premiers Han Zheng and Liu He, the president stated simply “I declare the Hong Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge officially open,” and shortly afterwards left the stage.
The government expects the bridge to be a major boon for Hong Kong as well as the cities now connected to it. According to China Daily, LegCo transport constituency member Frankie Yick Chi-ming said: “mainland exporters can [now] transport mercantile goods through Zhuhai to Hong Kong and then to overseas countries,” and vice versa. He also said he believes the bridge could further bolster Hong Kong’s status as a major regional aviation hub.
Hongkongers wishing to use the bridge will need to book shuttle bus tickets. Buses will run at five-minute intervals during rush hour, and every 10 to 15 minutes at other times. Hong Kong travellers will need to pass through customs before continuing onto the bridge, with customs procedures expected to take around 10 minutes.
At the event, Carrie Lam thanked the mainland government for giving Hong Kong the opportunity to be involved in the project and said that the bridge would make Hong Kong an active participant in the affairs of the mainland, rather than just being the latter’s connector to the world.
Security at the event was exceptionally tight, with attendees not allowed mobile phones inside. The event started half an hour later than expected as, according to RTHK, many guests insisted that their pictures be taken by photographers who were only permitted outside the venue.
The Standard made note that no members of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp were invited to the opening.
The bridge will open to the public tomorrow at 9am.
Photo: chinanews.comTags: Carrie Lam, Hong Kong Macau bridge, public transportation, Xi Jinping