The construction of the world's longest sea bridge, a nearly decade-old project already bogged down by lawsuits, money problems, and other holdups, now has another complication to contend with: Some say parts of the bridge are "floating away," per the Guardian. The new issue for the 34-mile bridge meant to connect Macau, Hong Kong, and the city of Zhuhai in China revolves around dolosse, reinforced concrete blocks used to keep waves from eroding structures. Drone photos taken last week of one of the bridge's man-made islands (there are also new roadways and a below-water tunnel that will make up the final sea bridge) seem to show some of the blocks underwater and not attached to a protective barrier, which has raised concerns on the Hong Kong side that the structural integrity of the island, which is being built by a Chinese contractor, is compromised.
China's Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority, however, is scoffing at the hubbub, with a senior official insisting the blocks are meant to be submerged. "We have our ways to do it, and you [Hong Kong] may have your ways to do it," he says, per the South China Morning Post. A site review Sunday by Hong Kong's highways chief confirmed that the seemingly "random" positioning of the dolosse, which weigh between 5.5 tons and nearly 9 tons each, was "scientific, reasonable, and safe," per the SCMP. A Hong Kong government engineer, meanwhile, noted the dolosse are placed in two different ways, for two different purposes: The ones closest to the island are to fend off wave erosion, while the ones making everyone nervous are actually meant to keep ships and other vessels from getting too close to the island and smashing into the undersea tunnel. (China is very into building fake islands.)