Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and tunnel

The underwater tunnel with the total length of 6.7 km is a key section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) transport project that links Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao. The implementation of the project was finished in 2017.

Foto HZMB project — underwater tunnel

HZMB project — underwater tunnel. Source: arup.com

Underwater tunnel

The technical difficultness of the structure is estimated very high. Apart from the challenge of the vent shaft construction for the road of a great length, it was required to solve the challenges regarding the manufacturing and assembling of the big sections of the “tube”, their transportation by sea and joining them under water pressure.


The tunnel consists of 33 cylindrical sections, linked by the butt joints. Each section is 180 m long, 38 m wide and 11.4 m high. The weight of the sections is about 80,000 ton.


The tunnel was constructed under the Lingdingyang channel, a part of the Pearl River delta, the third largest river in China. The tunnel was included into the structure for the purpose of securing the passage for the large cargo ships weighting up to 300 tons, which are often called to the local ports.

Map hzmb

This requisition dictated more challenges during the designing phases. In particular, the specific impacts were required to be calculated, like the fell of the heavy anchor, with its weight being about 22 ton.  The speed at the moment of impact might be 9 m/s. The tunnel also is designed to resist the weight of the sunken ship. Also the seismic protection is contemplated.

The tunnel is located 48 m deep and has to bear the pressure of the large water files and soil. Taking into consideration the difficult geological conditions like soft soils and aggressive marine environment, only state-of-art project could provide all the requirements and answer the safety regulations. The expected useful life of the project is 120 years. In addition, the new complex system for the regulation and organization of safety of the traffic was developed and it will be further applied at other transport objects.

Foto - the construction of the bridge Hong Kong – Macao

The construction of the bridge Hong Kong – Macao. Source: arup.com

The longest overseas bridge

At the moment, the HZMB project is one of the largest infrastructure projects ever. The bridge became the longest overseas link, with the total length of 29.5 km, including 22.9 km of the bridge itself and 6.7 double 6-lines underwater tunnel, which connects the artificial islands.

Officially, the construction of the tunnel-bridge section of the transport link was finished on June 7, 2017. The total length of the transportation complex is 55 km, with all the bridges, islands, tunnel and roads being included. The transport link is planned to be put in operation in the beginning of 2018.

Foto - construction hznb

It took almost 7 years to complete the project. The new transport line shortens the time of travel inside one of the most important economy areas in Asia. For example, it will take now 30 min to get from Hong Kong to Zhuhai, instead of 3 hours previously. Modern business strategies appreciate such a progress as economy value.

The work was performed by the China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) and its contractors through partnership agreements. The total cost of the project estimated as $ US 16 billion according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

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