The incredible £200m bridge linking two countries | World | News

A unique £200 million bridge that links two countries is one place where you have to drive on both sides of the road. The Lotus Bridge connects Cotai in Macau to Hengqin Island in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China.

The bizarre bridge between mainland China and the former Portuguese colony of Macau was completed in 1999 and is an elaborate construction.

It features three lanes in each direction and dual bridges which loop around each other by 360 degrees to swap the direction of the traffic.

The bridge has lanes that can accommodate vehicles travelling on both the left (as in Macau) and the right (as in mainland China), making it unique in its ability to handle different driving conventions.

The bridge plays a crucial role in the economic integration of Macau and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, fostering trade, tourism, and investment.

So, what’s the history behind the bridge? A century ago, Macau was still a Portuguese territory.

At that time, cars in Portugal drove on the left side of the road, and Macau followed the same practice. However, most European countries shifted to right-side driving during that period.

Portugal made this change in 1928 but allowed its colonies that bordered left-hand traffic jurisdictions to maintain their existing systems.

Since Chinese drivers drove on the left then, Macau did not switch. Even when China changed to right-hand driving in 1946, Portugal saw no need for Macau to follow suit.

Consequently, Macau remained a left-hand driving jurisdiction, and its infrastructure developed accordingly. By the time Macau became part of China half a century later, it seemed too late to change.

This situation complicated travel between China and Macau. To address this, the Lotus Bridge was opened in March 2000, just months after Macau rejoined China.

On the east side of the bridge lies Cotai, a region in Macau, while on the west side is Hengqin, an island in the Chinese city of Zhuhai.

The bridge connects mainland China with Macau, but a straight bridge wouldn’t suffice. To address this, a “lotus” feature was added on the Macau side.

Traffic entering from China starts on the right side of the road but, after navigating through some loops, seamlessly transitions to the left side.

Similarly, traffic coming from Macau undergoes the reverse process, allowing for smooth and efficient travel between the two regions.

The bridge operates round the clock making it a perfect route for travellers in China and Macau. 

Source link