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The world longest sea bridge Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau is open

Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the world's longest sea crossing bridge, nine years after construction first began.

Including its access roads, the bridge spans 55km (34 miles) and connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai. About 30km of its total length crosses the sea of the Pearl River delta. To allow ships through, a 6.7km section in the middle dips into an undersea tunnel that runs between two artificial islands.

Those who want to cross the bridge must obtain special permits, allocated by a quota system. And all vehicles will pay a toll. The bridge is not served by public transport, so private shuttle buses will ply the route. There is no rail link.

Hong Kong-based travellers may opt to use local transport to reach the port on the Hong Kong side of the bridge, before switching to a shuttle bus for the cross-border journey, and changing again to local services on the other side. Alternatively, intercity cross-boundary coach services will connect downtown areas of Hong Kong directly with Zhuhai and Macau, avoiding the need for changes.

However, local vehicles, including taxis, will not be allowed to travel on the bridge past the Hong Kong port. For making the full journey across the link, licensed shuttle buses will run 24 hours a day, setting off every five minutes at peak hours and every 10 to 15 at other times. Overnight services will leave every 15 to 30 minutes.

Cross-border coaches will run from an array of locations, including Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kwun Tong and Mong Kok, to a variety of mainland destinations such as Zhongshan, Zhuhai, and Jiangmen.

The bridge will shorten trips from Hong Kong International Airport to Zhuhai from the current four hours to just 45 minutes.

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