HAIKOU -- Construction started Saturday on a multi-functional bridge that will connect China's southernmost province of Hainan to a nearby man-made islet.

The bridge will be 27.5 meters wide and 5,666 meters long, spanning over sea north of the provincial capital Haikou to link to the Ruyi Islet, a tourism project still under construction, according to the 2nd Engineering Company of the China Railway 18th Bureau Group, a major contractor of the bridge.

The bridge will have six main functions: road, a tramway, and being a corridor for water, electricity, natural gas and optical fiber.

The sea under the bridge has an average depth of 10 to 15 meters, and the construction could be challenged by strong wind, thick fog and tides, according to the company.

He Changsong, project manager at the company, said the bridge was designed to resist super typhoons and earthquakes of more than magnitude 8.

The sail-shaped bridge is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2019. (PNA)