**Beijing : ** Authorized vehicles began plying on Wednesday on a 55-kilometre cross-sea bridge and tunnel linking mainland China with Hong Kong and Macau.
Designed to encourage economic integration in the Pearl River Delta region, the project consists of a series of bridges and tunnels that connect the cities in an estimated 40 minutes, reducing journey time by several hours.
From 9 a.m. onwards, buses and vehicles, authorized by the government, began travelling on the world’s longest bridge, which was inaugurated by President Xi Jinping on Tuesday following years of delays, cost overruns and political tensions, Efe news reported.
The bridge begins in Lantau island in Hong Kong and ends at an artificial island built between Macau and Zhuhai where immigration control offices are located, connected through underwater links.
The authorities were still testing systems to streamline immigration checks with facial recognition cameras and fingerprint scanners, which would do away with the need for drivers to display their papers everytime they used the link.