The ground breaking ceremony for the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge (Zhuhai waters section) took place on 15 December 2009.
Including Hong Kong waters section the crossing is the first major combined bridge and tunnel sea-crossing project in China, and represents a significant development for the Pearl River Delta region.
On completion the bridge is expected to drastically reduce the travel times between Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai. More strategically, it will connect three of China’s premier tourist destinations in the Special Economic Zones, improve transport logistics and aid in the development of the region’s tourism industry.
Arup contributed the preliminary design for a section of a 5.5km viaduct in the shallow water region close to Zhuhai; a 350m viaduct connecting the eastern artificial island and viaduct in Hong Kong water area; and the Jiuzhou cable-stayed bridge section across the Jiuzhou Channel. Arup also provided seismic design to bridges and artificial islands and reviews on the durability and tunnel ventilation.
The ceremony celebrated the project’s progress, projecting images of historical project milestones on large screens, before the official start of construction was declared. A large dredging vessel moored at the bay dropped its bucket to excavate the first mud from the seabed, signifying commencement of the artificial island reclamation for the Zhuhai border facility.
The ceremony was attended by invited guests, staff of the design teams, construction teams and local government officials. Among the Arup guests in attendance were Andrew Chan, LM Lui, Daman Lee, Wilfred Lau, and Alex Kong. Arup's project manager for the bridge, Carlos Wong was also invited as a bridge design expert in a special guest group who was received by the Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China Mr Li Keqiang.
The series of landmark bridges and tunnels is due for completion in 2016.