Beijing, May 1: China will inaugurate the world's longest sea crossing bridge on Thursday as part of effort to boost economic integration and development in the Yangtze River Delta.
The opening ceremony of the 36-km bridge, which spans Hangzhou Bay near Shanghai, will be held on Thursday afternoon and will open to traffic on a trial operation basis at midnight. The bridge links Haiyan, Jiaxing City to Cixi, Ningbo City in Zhejiang Province. It will cut the length of the road trip from Shanghai to Ningbo, a busy port, by 120 km. It is designed to last 100 years. According to a Xinhua report, the bridge, with a 32-km section spanning the sea, is a cable-stayed structure built at a cost of 11.8 billion yuan (1.69 billion dollars).
Construction of the six-lane bridge, which will allow a speed of 100 km per hour, began in November 2003.
As a shortcut between Zhejiang and Shanghai, the bridge is expected to greatly alleviate traffic flow in the booming Shanghai-Hangzhou-Ningbo triangle.
It will also help boost economic integration and development in the Yangtze River Delta, which covers almost 100,000 sq km of land comprising Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu and is home to 72.4 million people.