INTERNATIONAL

World’s longest sea bridge opens in China

Making waves: The Hangzhou Bay Bridge in Hangzhou which was inaugurated on Thursday.

Making waves: The Hangzhou Bay Bridge in Hangzhou which was inaugurated on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: AFP

36-km bridge across Hangzhou Bay near Shanghai will boost economic integration

JIAXING/NINGBO (Zhejiang Province): The world’s longest sea bridge was inaugurated in the Yangtze River Delta in China on Thursday as part of its effort to boost economic integration and development.

The 36-km bridge — spanning Hangzhou Bay near Shanghai — links Haiyan, Jiaxing City, to Cixi, Ningbo City, in Zhejiang Province.

The bridge would be opened for vehicles on a trial basis. Trucks, heavy vehicles and vehicles that carry dangerous chemicals will be barred from using the bridge during this period to ensure smooth traffic and safety.

“The bridge has become well-known and is expected to attract visitors,” said an official. “We haven’t decided how long the trial operation period will last. That depends ... on the bridge condition and we need time to improve management about its operation.” It will cut the length of the road trip from Shanghai to Ningbo, a busy port, by 120 km and is designed to last 100 years. The bridge, with a 32-km section spanning the sea, is a cable-stayed structure built at a cost of 11.8 billion Yuan ($1.69 billion). Private investors funded almost 30 per cent of the project, the first time China’s private sector had invested in a major public infrastructure project. Construction began in 2003 and was completed in 2007.

Eco-sensitive

A waste water disposal plant with a daily capacity of 2,70,000 tonnes was built near the bridge in Jiaxing to collect and treat waste water from neighbouring areas.

“Taking environmental protection into account, the top priority for us was to prevent the Hangzhou Bay water from being polluted,” said Qiu Dongyao, Jiaxing Executive Vice-Mayor.

As a shortcut between Zhejiang and Shanghai, the bridge is expected to ease traffic flow in the Shanghai-Hangzhou-Ningbo triangle.

It will also help boost economic integration and development in the Yangtze River Delta, which covers Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu; it is home to 72.4 million people. A resident from Cixi’s Tian’an village anticipated a better life. “There used to be a desolate beach near our village. Later, many factories were built there due to the bridge.” — Xinhua

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