When it’s finished, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao crossing will be China’s longest mileage, largest investment, and most complex cross-sea channel. It will connect Hong Kong on the east bank of the Pearl River Delta to Zhuhai and Macao on the west bank. The subsea tunnel is one of the most complex parts of the construction.
The bridge starts from San Shek Wan in Hong Kong, and crosses the Pearl estuary to Zhuhai and Macao, in a “single Y-shape”. The designers say the construction will take into account the future development of the three cities.
But it’s a project that’s highly complex. The Y-shaped cross-sea bridge can’t be built as a single entity.
Liu Xiaodong, Design Leader, Island Tunnel Project; HK, Zhuhai, Macao Crossing, said, “This bridge needs to pass through several important channels, including the Lingding and Tonggu Channels. But if we build bridges in these areas, they would have to be immense, with a large span and high towers. The high towers could impact on airline routes.”
The original plan was to continue the bridge across the Lingdingyang waters, an international shipping waterway.
This would have meant the bridge being constructed at a height of at least 80 meters, to allow big ships to pass. That means having bridge towers of at least 200 meters.
But the proximity of the nearby Hong Kong airport requires all constructions to be limited to just 88 meters.
Liu Xiaodong, Design Leader, Island Tunnel Project; HK, Zhuhai, Macao Crossing, said, “On the one hand, we need a large span bridge to let big ships pass. On the other hand we are restricted by the airport. So we have to build a tunnel instead.”
There’ll now be a 36-kilometer tunnel, connected via two artificial islands.
Liu Xiaodong also said, “This bridge-island-tunnel scheme is the optimal decision to successfully coordinate all passage ways for air, land and sea.”
Construction on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao crossing began on December 15th, 2009. Completion is scheduled for 2016.
Once built, the crossing will be the world’s longest six-lane immersed tunnel and longest combined cross-sea bridge-tunnel.