You are likely never to have heard of Zhuhai – located in the southwest of China’s Pearl River delta, Zhuhai is southern China’s best kept secret. Having just been a small fishing village in the 1970’s before being granted Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status, Zhuhai was incorporated as a city in 1979. It’s growth since then has been remarkable – the quality of life as well as population size have shifted significantly in the past 30 years. Zhuhai lies along the zigzagging coast of South Eastern China, overlooking the vast expanse of blue water and undulating green hills in the north. Thanks to its excellent geographic location, clean air and warm climate, Zhuhai is regarded as one of the most comfortable places to live in China. With just 820,000 inhabitants in the city proper and a total of 1.4 million in the metro region, Zhuhai is small by Chinese standards. Zhuhai also features an extraordinary location for travel, in addition to sharing a border with Macau, it is a 70 minute ferry ride from Shenzhen and Hong Kong – the flight hub of southeast Asia. Detailed information about the city and practicalities when living here can be found on; http://wikitravel.org/en/Zhuhai.
The Hong Kong– Zhuhai–Macao Bridge will carry a three-lane dual carriageway across the sea for 42 kilometres. Set to open in 2016, it is set to break many world records, and will deliver huge time savings for users; cutting the journey time from one peninsula to the other from the four hours it currently takes by ferry to forty-five minutes by car.
This entire project is being carried out in compliance with the most stringent environmental standards (water quality, protection of fishing, management of waste).
In the context of sea life, the white dolphin, a protected species, was identified in the work zone. In order to limit impact relating to the works, a 250-metre radius exclusion zone was defined. An alert and surveillance system for monitoring the dolphins’ behaviour was put in place and work is interrupted immediately whenever a white dolphin is identified within this zone. A plan for monitoring and evaluating operations has been devised to ensure the efficiency of these steps.
In advance of the construction phase, studies were also carried out to identify coral that could potentially be displaced in order to minimise disturbance to the seabed.
Measures have also been put in place to regulate additional maritime traffic due to the construction of the bridge: a speed limit for boats, training for captains and clearly defined routes.
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