Aizhai Bridge connects two traffic tunnels in the mountains, cutting the time needed to traverse the canyon from 30 minutes to 1. The bridge was built as part of the G65 Baotou–Maoming Expressway, an expressway in southwest China‘s Chongqing Municipality to Changsha, near to Jishou, Hunan.
With a main span of 1,146 metres (3,760 ft) and a deck height of 350 metres (1,150 ft), it is the sixth-highest bridge in the world and the world’s twelfth-longest suspension bridge. Of the world’s 400 or so highest bridges, none has a main span as long as Aizhai. It is also the world’s highest and longest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge. The bridge contains 1888 lights to increase visibility at night. (Wikipedia)
Construction took five years. Work finished at the end of last year, making it among the world’s longest and highest suspension bridge, carrying traffic 355 metres above the foot of Dehang Canyon. Construction of the bridge started in October 2007 and its main sections were completed at the end of last year. It is designed to help ease traffic in the mountainous region, where queues are common due to the narrow, steep and winding roads.
A brave worker put the final touches on the Anzhaite Bridge.
The bridge, which connects to two tunnels, was built to ease traffic
Drivers can take in the views of the Dehang Canyon
People and traffic during the opening ceremony.
Vehicles motor along a two-way, four-lane motorway.
Pedestrians walk along it on a special walkway under the road.
Aizhai is the fourth suspension bridge in China to cross a valley so wide that it seems to be connecting two mountain ranges. The first three were the Siduhe, Balinghe and Beipanjiang 2009 bridges. Located deep in the heart of China’s Hunan Province near the city of Jishou, the suspension bridge is the largest structure on the Jishou to Chadong expressway with a deck 1,102 feet (336 mtrs) above the DeHang Canyon.
The two tunnels on either side of the Aizhai Bridge allowed the engineers to use the mountain top for the location of one of the towers, reducing its height to just 165 feet (50 m) – unusually short for a bridge with a span nearly as long as the Golden Gate bridge at 3,858 feet (1176 m). In addition to cost savings, the stubby support also allows the bridge to blend more naturally into its surroundings. The taller bridge tower is no less unique with side span cables that soar down the backside of a mountain, making first time visitors quizzical as to what exactly lies ahead.
With most of the structure hidden from view, the bridge will come as a jaw-dropping surprise whether you enter the canyon from either tunnel. Due to a gap of approximately 328 feet (100 m) between the last truss suspenders and the tops of the bridge towers, the engineers added some additional ground anchored suspenders to stabilize the two massive suspension cables and reduce any oscillations that could damage other components of the bridge. An overlook and visitors center will offer additional views of the broad valley.