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World’s Longest Sea Crossing Opening this Week

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© Getty Images Hong Kong City and Harbor at Sunrise. (photo via EarnestTse/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

By Donald Wood, TravelPulse

The almost 35-mile long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is set to open Wednesday and become the world’s longest sea crossing.

According to The South China Morning Post, the $20-billion bridge took nine years to complete and connects Hong Kong and Macau to the Chinese mainland city of Zhuhai. President Xi Jinping will attend a grand opening for the bridge Tuesday.

The monumental construction project will cut travel time between the cities from three hours to 30 minutes, helping the 68 million locals in China’s Greater Bay Area with their commute and connecting the 56.7 million tourists arriving in Hong Kong each year to the mainland.

“With the bridge, the traveling time between Hong Kong and the Western Pearl River Delta region will be shortened significantly, thereby bringing the Western Pearl River Delta region within three hours' drive from Hong Kong,” transport secretary Frank Chan told CNN.com.

Critics have show concern that the bridge will bring too many tourists from mainland China to Hong Kong, with some even saying the construction was meant to help the Chinese government keep a tighter grip on the territory.

Even after the bridge is open, private car owners will not be able to drive on the bridge unless they have a special permit. Buses will be used to transport travelers between immigration terminals and will connect airports, ports, hotels and more along the expansive route.

Car hire companies are expected to launch service along the bridge early next year.

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Travel - U.S. Daily News: World’s Longest Sea Crossing Opening this Week
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