The Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link, a stunning engineering feat in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), opened at 3 p.m. on Sunday, revolutionizing transportation in the region. Within the first hour of operation, more than 7,000 vehicles crossed the bridge, demonstrating the huge demand and efficiency of the project, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The average daily traffic volume is estimated at 80,000 to 100,000 vehicle trips, and the link is expected to operate at full capacity after opening, according to

The passage will significantly enhance economic and social connectivity, facilitating the movement of goods across the Pearl River estuary, promoting the balanced development of the GBA, local transport authorities said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday sent a congratulatory letter on the opening of the sea passage. He noted that the project fully illustrates that China’s modernization can only be achieved through solid work, according to Xinhua.

After the bridge starts operating, the travel time between Shenzhen and Zhongshan will be reduced from two hours to just about 30 minutes, greatly improving the connectivity and efficiency of the national road network and transportation system in the GBA.

Authorities said the toll for the entire route is 66 yuan ($9) per vehicle trip, Xinhua reported.

The bridge marks a significant improvement in connecting not only GBA cities but the entire southern China, bringing accessibility, convenience and speed to travelers and businesses, local officials said.

The project, which includes two bridges, two islands and an underwater tunnel, consists of a 24-kilometer-long eight-lane expressway with a speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour.

It is an important part of the national expressway network that crosses the Pearl River estuary, about 30 kilometers south of the Humen Bridge and 31 kilometers north of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, another mega sea crossing in the GBA.

According to Xinhua, the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link, together with existing structures such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, will form a network of transoceanic and river passages in the Greater Bay Area, enhancing the connectivity of urban clusters there, said Deng Xiaohua, head of the Guangdong Provincial Communication Group Co.

Several important innovations and technological advances were made in the construction process of the project. The canal, hailed as an engineering marvel, is considered one of the most difficult transoceanic transportation projects ever completed in the world, taking seven years to build.

It has set several world records, including being the world’s first long-distance eight-lane twin undersea tunnel using immersed tubes and the world’s first high-speed underwater interchange connecting an airport and a highway.

A significant step toward China’s goal of becoming a transportation powerhouse, the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link also signals that the construction of the GBA has achieved fruitful results, experts said. The bridge is poised to promote the smooth flow of technology, talent and other resources within the region, Liang Haiming, chairman of the Hong Kong-based China Silk Road iValley Research Institute, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The sea link will accelerate the country’s goal of transforming the GBA into world-class financial, service, transportation and innovation hubs by 2030, Liang noted.

“This project not only enhances talent exchanges, cultural interaction and tourism, but also boosts regional integration,” said Song Shenyou, director of Shenzhong Link’s administrative center and chief engineer of the project, local newspaper Yangcheng Evening News reported.

Timothy Chui Ting-pong, director of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, said the project would stimulate Hong Kong citizens’ demand for same-day trips to Zhongshan City and surrounding regions. Chui told the Global Times that the number of tours to Zhongshan could double in July and August.

In addition to boosting tourism, experts said the road link will provide more local employment options, reduce living costs and increase the efficiency of the local supply chain. It will also help Hong Kong maintain its position as an international financial and trade hub, the expert said.


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