This year marks the 20th year since the building of Humen Bridge, a date shared with the handover of Hong Kong SAR. In fact, the opening of the bridge served as a gift in the 1997 handover ceremony. It was the country’s first modern suspension bridge with an 888-meter main span, striding Humen and Nansha, above the Shizi Channel.
Before the bridge, heavy traffic dominated the only passage between Guangzhou and Shenzhen—Guangshen Highway—all year long. In 1991, a car-carrying ferry was designed to transport 3,000 cars per day and alleviate congestion. Officials ended up pushing that number to 7,000. The hours-long queue to go from one side to the other slowed the pace of foreign investment. In 1992, the bridge’s foundation was laid with hopes of breaking the gridlock.
For 20 years, Humen Bridge has been one of China’s most fundamental river-crossing arteries, delivering numerous materials, resources, talent and information between the two banks. And yet, it has now become painfully congested. A second longer Humen Bridge north of the original structure is already under construction and is aimed to open in 2019.