THE WONDER: WORLD’S LONGEST SEA BRIDGE

sea bridge picture

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau (HZM) Bridge is the longest bridge on the sea in the world.  It is 55 km (34 mi) long and consists of a series of three cable-stayed bridges, an undersea tunnel, and four artificial islands. It is both the longest sea-crossing and longest fixed-link bridge on earth.

It was opened on Wednesday 24th October, 2018. The HZM Bridge spans the Lingding and Jiuzhou channels, connecting Hong Kong, Macau, and Zhuhai—three major cities on the River Pearl Delta.

Designed to last 120 years, the HZM Bridge was built at a cost of 126.9 billion yuan (US$18.77 billion). The cost, shared among the governments of Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China, was estimated at 51.1 billion yuan (US$ 7.56 billion) and was funded by bank loans shared among these governments. It took nine years and 420,000 tonnes of steel to build. It includes a 6.7km tunnel to allow ships through and two man-made islands.

The HZM Bridge can withstand earthquakes and typhoons. “We installed shock absorbers to avoid vibration,” says Zhang Jinwen, the engineering director of the project. There is also a system to monitor the bridge and measure wind speeds.

The three cities are divided by borders, have different legal systems and different road rules. Critics say Beijing is trying to erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and bring it closer to the mainland. However, Beijing says the link is vital to develop the economy and will boost trade and tourism.

Concerning the pros and cons, Spencer Ho, Hong Kong’s resident [governor?], says that the pro is that there is not enough space for housing in Hong Kong and this bridge connects to the Pearl River Delta area so that people who cannot find accommodation in Hong Kong can move to the Delta if they want. One of the cons, he says, is that Hong Kong will be assimilated and its unique role will be reduced, gradually making it just a Chinese city.

Vehicles will drive on the right on Chinese sections of the bridge and switch to the left in Hong Kong and Macau. The speed limit has been set to 100km/h on the six-lane highway.

 

THE WONDER? WORLD’SLONGEST LAKE BRIDGE

By the same token, if the integration of the East African Community (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) has to come, engineering may need to come in. Is connecting Lake Victoria with the longest bridge an impossible dream? There are advantages and disadvantages:

Consider the following before we declare the idea a BLUNDER:

1) The time to travel around the five countries would drastically be reduced, translating the parameter into an economic boom.

2) The great lake road would open up great tourism of the lake and the surrounding countries, enhancing the economic boom.

3) Hydrologists tell us that Lake Victoria is shallow, making the planning, design and construction probably feasible, and not such a mad idea!

4) Whereas the Americans, Russians and others dream of establishing colonies on the moon and travelling to the stars to explore what is there, why not us here, where the Eastern African countries can contribute to the project and gain enormously?

5) Lastly, if the Cape Town-to-Cairo highway will ever be achieved, the China-like longest bridge in Africa on Lake Victoria is the beginning! A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

HISTORICAL WONDER

The famous  Fifth Solvay International Conference in 1927

noble menThis iconic photograph was taken in October 1927 during  Fifth Solvay International Conference, perhaps the most famous conference on Electrons and Photons, where the world’s most notable physicists met to discuss the newly formulated quantum theory. The leading figures were Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. 17 of the 29 attendees were or became Nobel Prize winners, including Marie Curie, who alone among them, had won Nobel Prizes in two separate scientific disciplines.[3]

 

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