Hong Kong mega bridge launch announcement sparks backlash
China has finally announced the opening ceremony for the world’s longest sea bridge, which will connect Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland, but critics hit back Thursday over the secrecy surrounding the project.
Construction started in 2009 on the 55-kilometer crossing, which includes a snaking road bridge and underwater tunnel, linking Hong Kong’s Lantau island to the southern mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai and the gambling enclave of Macau, across the waters of the Pearl River Estuary.
It has been dogged by delays, budget overruns, corruption prosecutions and the deaths of construction workers.
While supporters promote it as an engineering marvel, others see the multi-billion dollar project as a costly white elephant designed to further integrate Hong Kong into the mainland at a time when Beijing is tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city.
Local media received invites from Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong Wednesday to an “opening ceremony” in Zhuhai on Tuesday, with no further details given.
China’s President Xi Jinping is reported to be attending the event, but there has been no official confirmation whether the bridge will go into operation that day.
Hong Kong’s transport department had no immediate answer Thursday when AFP asked whether it would be fully commissioned Tuesday.
Bus companies supposed to be operating on the bridge complained they were in the dark.
“At such short notice and without any details, how can we make the necessary logistic arrangements?” Eddie Choi, a spokesman for coach operator One Bus Hong Kong Macau, told the South China Morning Post.
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