After 9 years of construction and controversy, China has officially unveiled the world's longest sea bridge, built at a cost of R286.4 billion.
At more than 54.7km long, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is part of a master plan to create a global science and technology hub by connecting two Chinese territories, Hong Kong and Macau (the world's largest gambling center), to 9 nearby cities.
With an economic output of R21.5 trillion, the new mega-region - known as the Greater Bay Area - is positioned to rival Silicon Valley. The plan also includes the construction of a R157.5 billion bullet train, which opened in September.
The bridge is expected to open to traffic on Wednesday, though only certain vehicles - shuttles, freight cars, and private cars with permits - are allowed to cross. Pedestrians and bicyclists are prohibited.
While some have criticised the structure as a waste of taxpayer dollars, others tout its ability to connect up to 70 million people in the region.
The title of world's largest sea bridge previously belonged to the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, which stretches 42.3km.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is designed to last for more than a century, with the capacity to withstand major storms and earthquakes.
The structure should hold up in the face of 340km winds. That claim was put to the test in September, when Typhoon Mangkhut swept through Hong Kong, destroying roofs, shattering windows, and toppling trees.
The bridge is made of 420,000 tons of steel — enough to build 60 Eiffel Towers.