As the development of skyscrapers and construction projects in China are seemingly eclipsing the world’s current standing numbers, the country has also recently opened what now stands to be the world’s longest bridge.
Connecting the prosperous northern port of Qingdao in the Eastern province of Shandong to an airport on the suburban island of the Huangdao region the bridge stretches 42.5 kilometres across the Jiaozhou Bay.
The outstanding infrastructure development was designed by engineers at the Shandong Gausu Group, after taking four years to complete, the project was opened to the public on June 30th. The development is proving to be a move forward with the country’s infrastructure needs, as the bridge actively cuts of the distance between Qingdao and Huangdao by approximately 30 minutes making the journey more efficient for commuters and businesses.
Costing over 10 billion Yuan ($1.55 billion) the bridge is supported through no less than 5,200 pillars; the strength of its design is demonstrated through being engineered to withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake.
During the construction phase an estimated 450,000 tons of steel was used to create the structure, which according to The Times report is approximately enough for another 65 Eiffel Towers. Combined with this feat was the use of 2.3 million cubic metres of concrete.
Six lanes were established over a 110 ft. highway by 10,000 workers involved over the life of the construction period. Undoubtedly, whilst creating a stunning piece of infrastructure, this project has benefited local areas in terms of generating jobs.
As part of the design another tunnel was built underneath the bridge by the engineers in order to potentially ease traffic flows, should that become an issue in the future.
The state owned engineering company and the government have opened the bridge to use for free for the first month, after the end of July, a toll will be put on the bridge, requiring commuters to pay 50 Yuan, the equivalent to AUS $7.27. It is eventually hoped that 30,000 cars will cross the bridge daily.
Not only is this a design feat for the country, but it has also surpassed previous Guinness World Record achievements. Before the opening of this bridge, the Lake Pontchartin Causeway in Louisiana, USA held the title as the world’s longest bridge. China’s Jiaozhou Bay overtakes this by four kilometres.
However, as China’s construction boom appears to continue this new bridge will be outshone as the world’s longest bridge with a newer model called the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) which after completion in 2016 will span 50 kilometres. It will provide transport and infrastructure links between the highly regarded and significant business region of Hong Kong and Macao and the Southern Guangdong province.