The world's longest sea bridge was formally opened yesterday linking Shanghai to the industrial city of Ningbo across Hangzhou Bay in China.
The 22-mile bridge will reduce the driving distance between the eastern side of Shanghai and the port town of Ningbo by 75 miles.
The official opening was shown live on state television and traffic was due to start on the six-lane bridge late last night.
The bridge is a cable-stayed structure built at a cost of 11.8bn yuan (£500m), of which 30% came from private investors. The project was an early example of private contribution to a major public infrastructure project. Construction started in November 2003.
The bridge is designed to last 100 years. It will also help boost economic integration and development in the Yangtze river delta, which covers 39,000 square miles of land comprising Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, an area with 72.4 million people.
Sun Ningwei, vice-president of the Xinhai Electric Company, based in Cixi, Ningbo, said of the new bridge: "I think it will be easier for our company to recruit high-calibre employees, who always prefer working in small cities like Cixi but living in big cities like Shanghai. They can leave Shanghai for Cixi in the morning and go back in the afternoon. It's only 1.5 hours' drive," she said.
The 20.2-mile Donghai Bridge had been the previous longest sea-crossing structure, linking Shanghai to the Yangshan deep water port.
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