• Hong Kong will be one of the cities to be connected by the longest cross-sea bridge in the world.

Hong Kong will be one of the cities to be connected by the longest cross-sea bridge in the world. (Photo : Getty Images)

A key component of the world’s longest cross-sea bridge--the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge--has finally been installed by Chinese engineers on Tuesday, May 2, according to Xinhua.

The component spans 12 meters long and weighs approximately 6,000 tonnes, equivalent to over 25 Airbus A380 jets. It will serve as the tunnel section of the bridge, which will connect Macao, Zhuhai and Hong Kong.

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Extensive preparations, which took about two years, were done in order to make sure that the installation did not fail. Just before the key component was installed, 180-meter-long tubes that weigh a total of 80,000 tonnes were also added to the cross-sea bridge.

“There is only one wedge for a tunnel, and we cannot afford to fail in its installation. It took two years to prepare for today,” Chen Yue, a director from the chief engineer’s office, told Xinhua in an interview.

“The margin of error for the wedge is 1.5 centimeters. We have to measure precisely the influence of wind, current and buoyancy force,” Lin Ming, the chief engineer of the cross-sea bridge’s island and tunnel sections, added.

“It is like putting a needle through a hole in the sea--a truly unprecedented event in the history of transportation.”

The installation took 10 hours to finish with the help of a crane to hoist and lower the wedge to its proper location. It is expected that additional finishes and welding work will be completed by June, according to Lin.

Once finished, the cross-sea bridge will extend to approximately 55 kilometers, 22.9 kilometers of which will be a bridge and 6.7 kilometers accounting for the tunnel.

The construction of the cross-sea bridge began in Dec. 2009. It is expected to be open for public use by the end of the year, Zhu Yongling, director of the bridge management bureau, told Xinhua.