Friday, February 11, 2011

Bridges and Tunnels

This is the Tsing Ma Bridge which spans the Ma Wan Channel, and  is the worlds longest span suspension bridge which carries both rail and vehicles.  It is 2.2 kilometers long and connects Hong Kong with the International Airport on Lantau Island . The bridge consists of a six-lane open roadway with two railway lines and a two-lane road enclosed beneath.  If a particularly severe typhoon strikes, and the bridge has to be closed to road traffic, the trains and some road traffic can still get back and forth to the airport  with passengers. 

Tsing Ma Bridge at night.  At night all the bridges are lite up and are very pretty.
This is the Ting Kau Bridge.  It is a 1,177 m cable-stayed bridge crossing the Rambler Channel and adjacent to the Tsing Ma bridge. It is the worlds first 4 span cable-stayed bridge.  I like it because the cables look like ships sails, and looks rather delicate from a distance.

Stonecutters Bridge is the latest bridge to be opened and crosses over one of the container terminals.  I think the name is rather neat.  It is named after Stonecutters Island.

Rambler Channel
Stonecutters Bridge.  There are many more bridges beyond these few, connecting islands to the mainland, and islands to islands. There is a plan to have a series of bridges and tunnels that will connect the west side of Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai, which are situated on the west side of the Pearl River Delta.  I'm not sure if this has begun or not.

Besides the mind boggling bridges, Hong Kong has at least 15 tunnels.  Some go under the ocean and some through the mountains. There are 3 tunnels that go under the ocean in Victoria Harbour, and they are considering putting in a fourth.  These go from the Kowloon side to Hong Kong Island.  They are all toll tunnels, with the price being $30. (the western one is more expensive and people won't use it as much because of that)  There is always a lot of congestion coming and going to these, (because there are 6 lanes funneling into 2 lanes through the tunnel) but it beats lining up for a ferry like you used to do at one time.  I can't imagine what it was like to have to take the old Star Ferry's back and forth.  They are fun to go on once in awhile but if that was the only way across it would get old fast.

File:HK Cross Harbour Tunnel.jpg

All of the other tunnels are through the mountains.  We have the old Kai Tac Tunnel just below us here.  When you see how the city is built along the ocean, up and down the mountains, on little islands all over the place, the mainland and on the big island, it is an amazing feat of engineering and perseverance.  If you can't get across build a bridge or go underneath, or tunnel right through and if there isn't enough land to build houses go up into the sky.  It's an incredible place.

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