Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge marks a change in Hong Kong’s role as a “connector” to a more active participant in mainland China’s development.
The bridge was officially opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Zhuhai on Tuesday morning, although he did not make a speech at the ceremony. The ceremony was scheduled at 9am, but only began 30 minutes later when Xi arrived.
When entering the venue, Lam appeared alongside Xi, as well as other state leaders such as Han Zheng and Liu He, as well as Macau’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui.
Lam said the Hong Kong engineering team was proud to be able to participate in the “once in a lifetime” project.
She said the bridge enhanced the exchange of people and goods between cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
“It is beneficial to Hong Kong’s change in roles from a connector to a more active participant, co-operating in development with Macau, Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Jiangmen,” she said.
“The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is not only a useful infrastructure project, it is also a beautiful infrastructure project, especially for those who come back to Hong Kong by plane – when planes land at the Hong Kong International Airport, they will be attracted to this marvellous bridge.”
The bridge’s Hong Kong port is next to the airport on Lantau Island: “Lantau Island will become the dual gateway to the world and the Greater Bay Area.”
Lam also mentioned her Lantau Tomorrow Vision project, which will see 1,700 hectares of land reclaimed near the islands to the east of Lantau. It could house up to 1.1 million people.
“The SAR government grasped the opportunity to propose the Lantau Tomorrow Vision, to create a better future for Hong Kong,” she said.
Lam said that the bridge was one of the three new, major cross-border project – the other two being the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link that opened last month and the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point which will open early next year.
Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng said the bridge was an important state strategic project pushed forward by Xi.
He said the bridge endured recent hits by super typhoons Hato and Mangkhut.
“The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is an important marker signalling China’s transition from a big country building bridges. to a strong country building bridges,” he said.
Han also said that hundreds of patented inventions and scientific achievements were made during the construction of the bridge.
“We have to transform the valuable experiences from this project into industry standards in order to go global with China’s bridge construction skills, and make contributions to the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative,” Han said.