Bridge to the Future

he Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is lit up. After it begins operation, the bridge will adopt customs clearance and inspection by each of the three regions, with Macao and Zhuhai jointly conducting the inspection to enhance efficiency. by Chen Xianyao

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is designed to last for at least 120 years.

A century from now, how will people comment on the grand architecture built by tens of thousands of workers from 2003 to 2018, when they look at the still-functional bridge rails, elegant bridge towers and solid bridge piers? Will they embrace the old project with pride?

During the 15 years it took to build, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge witnessed China’s increasing strength. The shift in construction goals from “greater, faster, successful and economical” to “high-quality” is derived from the country’s growing economic strength. China’s GDP rose from nearly 14 trillion yuan to 80 trillion yuan. Infrastructure has sprouted up fast in the country as high-speed rails, highways, bridges, ports and airports are built and expanded. Mega-projects completed one after another include the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the cross-sea Hangzhou Bay Bridge and the high-speed rail network. Critical scientific achievements include the launch of the Tiangong-2 space lab, the commissioning of the deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong, operation of the five-hundred-meter aperture spherical telescope (FAST) Tianyan, launch of dark matter probe satellite Wukong and quantum science satellite Mozi and the test flight of the airliner C919. Growing economic strength is bearing fruits as the country walks the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

As China’s comprehensive strength reaches high levels, it is natural for managers and builders of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to aim for a high-quality project that will last for generations. The construction team consisted of extraordinary members. Renowned experts and leading figures in the transport industry took charge of the project. Master designers and consultants from around the country joined the project. Project managers had primarily worked senior posts at the world’s top 500 companies. Skilled and experienced workers were selected from all sectors involved in construction. During the work, five programs and 19 affiliated programs were listed in China’s National Science and Technology Support Program. The workers were responsible for several world firsts. In 2015, The Guardian listed the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge as one of the “seven wonders of the modern world” from a pool of global architecture near completion.

Over the past 15 years, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge evidenced the effectiveness of building a community with shared future. From planning to building, the bridge featured broad participation from international designers, advisers, construction consultants and quality consultants. Contributors hailed from China, the United States, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Japan and even more places. Those from the Chinese mainland as well as Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions contributed joint efforts. Bridge builders had diverse backgrounds in terms of social systems and personal values, and played different roles in construction. However, they shared the precious opportunity and professional honor of building the bridge, forming a community with shared future based on emotional connections and unique partnerships. They understood each other and worked together towards a common goal, jointly accomplishing the project of the century with the best available construction resources in the world. They lived up to their commitment.

Across 15 years, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge evidenced Chinese intellectuals’ patriotism and responsibility. During construction, they sensed the country’s development, confidence and their own responsibility. They learned from books, developed countries and any available sources from brilliant human civilizations. They pursued wisdom with an open mind. They pursued the extraordinary with modesty and diligence. They meditated: “Where are we positioned in the universe? Where are we positioned in human history? Who do we want to be?” The intellectuals believed that philosophical inquiry and meditation suited the needs of construction of the bridge. Embracing far-reaching ambition, they strove to become the best in the industry. “With good thinking habits, willingness to read, and ability to control the overall situation and look ahead, one can be confident stepping into untrod fields,” said Zhang Jinwen, chief engineering supervisor of the bridge authority. “Support from team members and trust from leaders will enable you to overtake your peers in no time.”

Over the 15 years, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge demonstrated Chinese workers’ commitment and heroism. From general managers to engineers, from project managers to workers, every builder was passionate about the work, confident in setting new industrial standards and proud of the country’s prosperity.

General Secretary Xi Jinping summarized the meaning of the reform and opening up in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China: “In the early days of reform and opening up, the Party made a clarion call for us to take a path of our own and build socialism with Chinese characteristics. Since that time, the Party has united and led all the Chinese people in a tireless struggle, propelling China into a leading position in terms of economic and technological strength, defense capabilities, and composite national strength. China’s international standing has risen as never before. Our Party, our country, our people, our forces, and our nation have changed in ways without precedent. The Chinese nation, with an entirely new posture, now stands tall and firm in the East.”

The new era is vividly embodied by construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.

A hundred and twenty years is a long journey for one person, but only a blink of an eye in human history. The grand bridge takes shape as China rises, leaving an incredible imprint on world bridge history.

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