BY SILVI WRITER
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge at an opening ceremony in the city of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, on Tuesday morning.
The 55-kilometer bridge-island-tunnel complex, the first sea span across the Pearl River Estuary linking its west and east banks, becomes the premier sea-crossing in the world.
The mega cross-boundary complex officially opens to traffic at 9 am (GMT+8) on Wednesday.
China is actually home to many notable bridges, including the world’s highest ones, and the longest one, which is about just three times the length of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
The Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge, 丹昆特大桥
Opened in 2011, it is a 164.8-kilometre long viaduct on the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway. It currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest bridge in the world in any category as of June 2011.
The bridge is located on the rail line between Shanghai and Nanjing in Jiangsu province. It is in the Yangtze River Delta where the geography is characterized by lowland rice paddies, canals, rivers, and lakes.
The bridge runs roughly parallel to the Yangtze River, about 8 to 80 km south of the river. It passes through the northern edges of population centers (from west to east) beginning in Danyang, Changzhou, Wuxi, Suzhou, and ending in Kunshan. There is a 9-kilometre long section over open water across Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou.
Anji Bridge, 安济桥
Also known as Zhaozhou Bridge (赵州桥), it is that country’s oldest still standing bridge. Crossing the Xiao River, in northern China’s Hebei province, it is also the world’s oldest open-spandrel arch bridge.
Construction began in 595 AD and was completed ten years later. The Anji Bridge, which literally means “Safe Crossing Bridge” has remained intact through many wars, floods and earthquakes and is still in use today. The only major changes over the years were the periodic replacement of the balustrades.
Designed and constructed during the Sui Dynasty the bridge is 51 metres long with a central span of 37 metres. It rises 7.3 metres above the river and is 3 metres wide. It was constructed using 28 slim, curved limestone slabs, joined with iron dovetails to allow the arch to adjust to shifting in the supporting abutments and to prevent collapsing even if a segment of the arch breaks.
Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, 南京长江大桥
China may be home to both the longest and highest bridges in the world, but neither is as pioneering as the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge. The double-decked bridge was considered groundbreaking when it was unveiled in 1968.
More importantly, it was also the first modern bridge to be designed and built by China without help from foreign architects.
Its upper deck is part of China National Highway 104, spanning 4,588 metres. Its lower deck, with a double-track railway, is 6,772 metres long, and completes the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, which had been divided by the Yangtze for decades. Its right bridge consists of nine piers, with the maximum span of 160 metres and the total length of 1,576 metres. The bridge carries approximately 80,000 vehicles and 190 trains per day.
The bridge was completed and open for traffic in 1968. It was the third bridge over the Yangtze after the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge and the Chongqing Baishatuo Yangtze River Bridge. It was the first heavy bridge designed and built using Chinese expertise.
According to People’s Daily, the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge surpassed the Golden Gate Bridge as the most frequent suicide site in the world, with more than 2,000 suicides estimated by 2006.
Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, 武汉长江大桥
Commonly known as Wuhan First Yangtze Bridge, it is a double-deck road and rail bridge across the Yangtze River in Wuhan, in Central China. At its completion in 1957, the bridge was the easternmost crossing of the Yangtze, and was often referred to as the “First Bridge of the Yangtze”.
The bridge extends 1.6 kilometers from Turtle Hill in Hanyang, on the northern bank of the Yangtze, to Snake Hill in Wuchang, on the southern bank of the Yangtze. Plans for the bridge’s construction were first made in 1910. A total of four exploratory surveys were made between 1913 and 1948 to identify a suitable site, but economic limitations and the combination of World War II and the Chinese Civil War prevented the bridge’s building until the 1950s. Actual construction began in September 1955 and was completed in October 1957.
The upper level of the bridge is a two-way, four-lane automobile highway. The lower level is a double-track railway on the Beijing-Guangzhou railway line.
The Beipanjiang bridge, 北盘江大桥
It opened to traffic in winter 2016, following three years of construction.
It links the provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan, in China’s mountainous southwest, and reduced road travel times from Liupanshui to Xuianwei from five hours to two. Its 1,341-metre span of four-lane road deck soars 564 metres over the Beipan River, making it the highest – if not the tallest – in the world.
China is also home to the second and third highest bridges – the Sidu River Bridge and the Puli Bridge.
The Beipan river, over which the Beipanjiang Bridge carries traffic, is part of the great Pearl River basin. Because of its geography, the bridges that cross it tend to be remarkably high.