U-turns on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge links Hong Kong to Macau and Mainland China – and u-turns are prohibited along the entire 35-minute 55-kilometre long journey across it! However in an emergency you don’t need to drive in reverse to get back home – provisions have been made for vehicles to turn around mid-journey.

Entrance to the immersed tube tunnel on the Hong Kong end of the bridge

Flyovers at San Shek Wan

I first spotted the San Shek Wan ‘grade-separated turnaround facility’ on a flight into Hong Kong.

Grade-separated turnaround facility spans the viaduct at San Shek Wan

From water level it is a tangle of freeway ramps.

Grade-separated turnaround facility spans the viaduct at San Shek Wan

Located just off the shores of Lantau Island.

Grade-separated turnaround facility spans the viaduct at San Shek Wan

Next door to Hong Kong International Airport.


Bouygues Construction photo

Just before the bridge heads out to sea.


Arup photo

Ramps rise above the main traffic lanes.

Grade-separated turnaround facility spans the viaduct at San Shek Wan

Then pass over the top.

Grade-separated turnaround facility spans the viaduct at San Shek Wan

Allowing vehicles to change to the opposite carriageway.

Grade-separated turnaround facility spans the viaduct at San Shek Wan

Located between piers P53 and P59, the structure is described as:

A grade-separated turnaround facility near San Shek Wan comprised of slip roads in the form of single-lane viaducts bifurcates from the Hong Kong Link Road mainline carriageways forming an elevated junction above. It consists of 6-span continuous mainline deck integrated with 2 ramps. A smaller box section of 9m wide was deployed for the ramps.

The interchange is normally closed to traffic.


KMBS3V20 Studio

But the Hong Kong Government has explained why it exists.

For proper maintenance of the HZMB and speedy handling of accidents or other emergency situations, both Hong Kong and Mainland governments may deploy maintenance and emergency rescue vehicles for carrying out duties on the HZMB. The spokesman stressed that the vehicles concerned shall not be driven on a road in Hong Kong other than the Hong Kong Link Road of the HZMB. They shall return to the Mainland via the turnaround on the Hong Kong Link Road near San Shek Wan upon reaching that turnaround, except where the ambulances and fire fighting vehicles described above enter Hong Kong upon request by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for assistance in case of major serious accidents on the HZMB.

Other places to turn around

After leaving the “Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities” the Hong Kong Link Road runs at grade along the east coast of the Chek Lap Kok for 1.6 kilometres, where the first turnaround point is located – the eastern portal of the Scenic Hill Tunnel.

1 kilometre in length, a second turnaround point is located at the eastern portal of the tunnel.


Transport Department photo

New we pass over the water, travelling 4.8 kilometres to the turnaround at San Shek Wan.

Grade-separated turnaround facility spans the viaduct at San Shek Wan

Followed by another 4.8 kilometres over the water, crossing the border into China, when we reach the eastern artificial island for the immersed tube tunnel. Here, on- and off-ramps serve a future commercial development.

Massive structure built atop the Hong Kong end of the immersed tube tunnel

Down into the 6.7 kilometre long tunnel, and we emerge at the western artificial island – home to another set of access roads.


Google Maps

Then continue 22.9 kilometres across the Pearl River estuary.

Across a viaduct with three navigable spans over shipping channels.

Until we finally reach the artificial island that houses the Macau and Zhuhai Boundary Crossing Facilities.

And to summarise

So here is the full list of turnaround locations:

Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities
1.6 kmat-grade road
Scenic Hill Tunnel, eastern portal
1 kmtunnel
Scenic Hill Tunnel, western portal
4.8 kmHong Kong Link Road viaduct
San Shek Wan turnaround structure
4.8 kmHong Kong Link Road viaduct
White Dolphin Island (白海豚岛)
6.7 kmimmersed tube tunnel
Blue Dolphin Island (蓝海豚岛)
22.9 kmMain Bridge viaduct
Macau and Zhuhai Boundary Crossing Facility

Which is a rather odd situation – all five turnaround locations are located on the eastern half of the bridge, three of which are located in Hong Kong, and zero on the western side.

Further viewing

Here is a 39 minute long realtime journey across the bridge.

While this is the 6 minute long speedrun version.

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