The leveling of the surface on the main part of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HKZMB) has now been completed, the bridge authority announced on the weekend.
According to Macau Daily Times, some 700,000 square meters of the bridge’s surface has been paved in preparation for vehicle traffic, and the main section is now finished.
The process of paving the bridge included the application of waterproof layers and the use of porous asphalt to protect the bridge’s surface from the high level of humidity from the South China Sea. According to bridge authorities, the extra protection on the bridge’s road surface should last for approximately 15 years.
“The most important features of porous asphalt is its strong adaptability to the movement of the steel plates on the road,” the deputy director of the Bridge Administration’s Engineering Management Department told public broadcaster TDM. “At the same time it has a low absorbency rate so it can provide good protection to the steel plates.”
The HKZMB has also been designed to withstand environmental phenomena that could potentially strike the Pearl River Delta estuary. According to the bridge authority, the bridge can endure a super typhoon as well as a magnitude 8 earthquake.
In May, Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption revealed a scandal involving the testing of concrete cubes used in the bridge’s construction. It found that a government contractor had falsified the testing reports on more than 1 percent of concrete samples, casting doubts on the bridge’s safety.
Authorities in the two Special Administrative Regions have assured the public that the safety of the HKZMB has not been compromised. Macau’s Chief Executive, Chui Sai On, testified last month to the construction quality of the Macau section of the bridge.
The HKZMB will be the world’s longest bridge over water, as it links the three southern Chinese cities in the Pearl River Delta estuary, and it is expected to open to vehicles later this year.
Although the project’s final cost remains undisclosed, the bridge authority has previously estimated that it will exceed RMB115.9 billion (about MOP138.4 billion), more than double that forecasted in 2007.
The bridge has an expected lifespan of 120 years, slightly longer than most sea bridges, which are designed to last for a century.