World’s Largest Water Bridge

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated:

The longest bridge connecting two pieces of land over water recently opened.  The bridge/tunnel system, which took nine years to build, connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.  

The bridge–tunnel system is 55 kilometers (34 miles) long. Costing over $18 billion USD, the bridge is designed to be typhoon and earthquake proof with an intended lifespan of 120 years.

The bridge was officially opened to traffic on October 24, 2018, after nearly nine years of construction.

This map shows the route of the bridge and tunnel that was build to connect automobile traffic between Hong Kong and mainland China.  The dotted section indicates the location of the 6.7 km tunnel section, built underwater to allow ships to cross the Pearl River Delta.  Anchored on either side of the tunnel are artificial islands built during the bridge construction.


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Map showing the location of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. Map: Kellykaneshiro, CC BY-SA 4.0
Map showing the location of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. Map: Kellykaneshiro, CC BY-SA 4.0

Left and Right-hand Driving

While both Macau and Hong Kong drive on the left, the bridge is set up for right-hand traffic in compliance with mainland China driving.  Drivers entering the bridge from Macau and Hong Kong have to switch from lefthand to right-hand traffic lanes when entering.

West section of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.  Photo: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, MediaWiki Commons.
West section of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Photo: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, MediaWiki Commons.

Travel Times

The bridge has made it much easier and faster to travel between the cities. The opening of the bridge will cut travel times between Zhuhai and Hong Kong from four hours to 30 minutes.  

Cars must be in possession of a permit to access the bridge and pay a toll.  A limit of 10,000 permits are available for drivers.

Satellite image over the water showing the location of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau (HKZM) Bridge.
Satellite image from 2016 showing the progress of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau (HKZM) Bridge. Image: Landsat 8, NASA.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.