Mega bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and China to open on Tuesday

China Macau flag

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

Later this week, the long-awaited 34-mile sea bridge connecting mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau will finally open.

President Xi Jinping is expected to officiate at an opening ceremony in the mainland city of Zhuhai Tuesday morning, but details of the cloak-and-dagger event have been kept secret.

Stretching across 55km, it is 22.5km longer than the width of the English Channel from Dover in the United Kingdom to Calais in France.

Members of the media take pictures on the Hong Kong side of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, October 19, 2018, days before its opening ceremony.

The bridge slashes through the Pearl River Estuary and reduces the travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from 4 hours to 45 minutes.

The bridge includes a 6.7-kilometer submerged tunnel to help it avoid the busy shipping paths over the Pearl River Delta. "There's a clear symbolic value of being the world's longest bridge re [garding] nationalism and state-building".

"By making Hong Kong an integral part of the Greater Bay area, it will bring Hong Kong closer to mainland China, notwithstanding the official commitment for the "one country, two systems" model", said Tsang.

The opening of the high-speed rail link also sparked criticism as it saw Chinese security stationed on Hong Kong soil for the first time at the city's terminus. The Pearl River Delta is home to an endangered Chinese white dolphin population that has been buffeted by massive land reclamation efforts in Hong Kong and other cities.

An aerial view shows construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge in June 2016 in Zhuhai in China's Guangdong Province. The six-lane bridge has been constructed in just nine years. Many have questions about how useful the bridge will be, and there are concerns that China's central government might use the bridge as another way to chip away at Hong Kong's independence, as CityLab reports.

Although the bridge is opening to traffic this week, private cars will need a special permit to be allowed to drive on the bridge.

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