The Zhuhai section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. (ZHONG FAN/FOR CHINA DAILY)
The principal section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is officially ready for operation as the project's management authority finished a preliminary check of the project on Tuesday.
Director of the HZMB Authority, Zhu Yongling, confirmed with China Daily that the world's longest sea span would start services in the first half of this year.
At this stage, the governments of Guangdong province, and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions are finalizing cross-boundary transportation policies, according to Zhu.
Construction of port facilities in Zhuhai and Macao has been completed, pending an official handover to the operator, according to another source. The source estimated that work in the Hong Kong port area will be completed in two to three months.
After taking over the bridge from contractors, the operational authorities, including those in charge of highway operation, immigration, customs, fire protection and traffic matters, will begin moving into the control center of the bridge, which is mainly located on a man-made island to the west of the bridge's tunnel, the chief engineer of the HZMB Authority, Su Quanke, said.
Key heavyweights in the bridge building sector are highly anticipating the long-awaited moment.
Gordon Wu Ying-Sheung, board chairman of Hopewell Holdings, a major property developer in Hong Kong, first floated the idea of building a link bridge across the Pearl River Delta in 1983.
In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Wu said that he is delighted to see for himself the completed bridge and its world-class quality.
The completion of the bridge will realize a dream that began 35 years ago, Wu said. It indicates the huge advancement in the country's overall development over the years after reform and opening-up, he added.
He expects the bridge to play a principal role in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Once operational, the 55-kilometer bridge will shorten driving time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from the current four hours to less than one hour.