Construction of two bridges connecting Zhoushan Archipelago, the largest China's offshore island groups, with China's continental area will begin this year and is scheduled to be completed in 2008, said a source with the provincial government of Zhejiang, east China.
The 5.3-kilometer-long Xihoumen Bridge, a suspension bridge consisting of a 2.6-kilometer sea-crossing bridge and 2.7-kilometer side joint sections on both ends, will be built at a cost of 2.48 billion yuan (299.87 million US dollars).
Upon completion, the suspension bridge will be the second longest in the world following the Pearl Bridge in Japan.
The Xihoumen Bridge, linking Jintang and Cezi islands, two major islands of the Zhoushan Archipelago, can allow the passage of ships of 30,000 dwt (dead weight tonnage).
The Jintang Bridge, linking Jintang Island and Zhenhai of Ningbo, is 27 kilometers long. The 7 billion yuan (846.43 million US dollar) project consists of a 18.5-kilometer sea-spanning bridge and side joint sections on both ends totaling 8.5 kilometers. The bridge allows passage of ships of 50,000 dwt.
The two bridges are the second phase of a huge "continent-island joint project," launched by Zhoushan in 1999, to link the Zhoushan Archipelago with the mainland with five bridges. Construction of the other three bridges have been completed.
The five sea-crossing bridges, connecting the Zhoushan Island, the main island of the Zhoushan Archipelago, and four other islets with the continent, will form a man-made peninsula. The bridges can shorten the Zhoushan-continent journey from two hours to half an hour.
The Zhoushan Archipelago, China's leading fishing ground and largest island group, located on the East China Sea outside Hangzhou Bay, to the northeast of Zhejiang Province.
Zhoushan Island, the largest among them, has an area of 524 sq km to make it the fourth largest in China. Zhoushan Island boasts 183 kilometers of deep-water coastlines.