China's New Mega Bridges SHOCKED American Scientists
Americans like their stuff jumbo-sized, and huge constructions are a norm in the country. When it comes to
bridges, the nation boasts of many iconic ones, including the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California! However, engineers have been pulling off massive
bridgesthat have left their American counterparts
shockedby the daringness and ingenuity! In this video, we bring you mighty Chinese bridges whose engineering shocks American
scientiststo the bone! Humans have been building bridges since eternity. The Arkadiko Bridge, also known as the Kazarma Bridge, is claimed by many to be the oldest existing bridge in the world.
This arch bridge was built sometime between 1300 and 1190 BCE, and interestingly, it is still in use local population! In Mycenaean times or the last phase of the Greek Bronze Age, which lasted from 1600 to 1100 BCE, this Arkadiko Bridge was part of a highway linking the cities of Tiryns and Epidauros. Bridge building, however, has come a long way from the rather rudimentary Arkadiko Bridge. The purpose, complexity, and functions of bridges have expanded, along with the budget! Let’s go to China, where bridge-building has become massive and elaborate feats of engineering that are difficult to top in the other parts of the world!
The first bridge is the Chishui River Bridge, which stands a whopping 350 meters above the river! When the Chinese government decided to improve economic development in the Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, it became apparent that there was a need for a reliable connection between the Guizhou Jiang Xi Gu and Sichuan Xugu expressways. The bridge, which was estimated at a quarter of a billion dollars, would span the width of the Chishui River. The total length was a little above 2 km. Sichuan Road & Bridge got a 360-degree contract that involved the design, production, and construction of the tall bridge. However, they couldn’t have chosen a worse site even if they tried!
The winding, mountainous site was a complicated topographic challenge. On the Sichuan side, the geological conditions, including a cliff and the requirement of a maximum elevation of 350 meters, challenged the team’s ingenuity! Even working in the collapse zones and rocky, and karst areas was a serious hazard to the engineers! Sichuan settled for a design that required about 1,200 meters of the bridge to use a double tower and single span suspension. However, the design got even more complex, and the company admitted it was the most challenging job they had done in decades! The terrain made the use of heavy equipment very difficult because it wasn’t easy to build an access road to the site.
The team was forced to determine how to construct the main bridge deck as a truss off-site and deliver segments to the gorge, as well as determine how to design a system of 158 cables to support the bridge deck. But thanks to sophisticated technology, Sichuan was able to save days of design work and 19 months of construction! The Chishui River Bridge opened in late 2019. The company also saved more than 2 million dollars from the budget! This was thanks to their effort to reduce the bridge tower foundation by 30 percent and reduce the amount of earthwork they had to do. The next Chinese wonder bridge is the Green Juice Bridge, the world’s first sing-tower, single-span suspension bridge.
Linking the cities of Yuxi and Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan, it will shorten the travel time significantly. The Green Juice Bridge forms a critical section of the 190-kilometer-long Yuchu Expressway and the 9,000- kilometer Yunnan Highway network. The Yuchu Expressway links Yunnan with other major national expressways, such as the Hangzhou-Ruili Expressway and the Guangzhou-Kunming Expressway. Apart from the massive scope of these bridges, the short construction time is a wonder. This Green Juice Bridge was started in 2019 and was completed after just three years, an insane construction speed! At just 798 meters, the Green Bridge does not hold any record in length, but its claim to fame is the engineering marvel that it is!
The bridge hangs above Lvzhijiang, where it gets its name from. Lvzhijiang literally means “Green Juice River.” The bridge protrudes from tunnels that burst out from steep mountain faces on each side of the valley, which has a V shape. The Green Juice Bridge holds the record as the world’s first single-tower, single-span suspension bridge as it is only held up by one tower! The ends are held in place by cables. This means there are no additional columns! This makes the bridge look like it is defying gravity, and you may wonder what the engineers were thinking when they designed it!
Other records held by this amazing bridge is the world’s steepest tunnel anchorage, angled at 54 degrees. Complicating the design and construction is that the main supporting elements, consisting of the high tower, which is 156 meters tall, the bridge approach on one side, and the tunnel anchorage on the second end, had to be built right into very steep slopes! In fact, the height difference between the bridge deck and the assembly is 320 meters, the equivalent of a 100 stories building! Even among the complex Chinese bridges, the Green Juice Bridge stands out! Engineers slotted into place the last piece of steel box girder on March 9, marking a major milestone in the construction.
Drivers are limited to 100 km per hour on the new bridge set to open in April, but that will only give them more time to enjoy the majestic views from the bridge! It seems if a bridge doesn’t break any records, the Chinese engineers won’t build them! The next jaw-dropping bridge in the Asian powerhouse nation is the Yangbaoshan Bridge, which is the longest bridge in the world taller than 300 meters, and having six lanes! The deck is even taller, standing 320 meters above a reservoir and 360 meters above the actual river level! This bridge, at six lanes, is the widest steel truss suspension bridge built in mountainous locations in China.
The lower leg of the 186.5 meters tall west tower measures 110.7 meters below the deck, making it a unique “suspension-bridge-on-stilts.” In fact, you will only find six other suspension bridges using tower piers that are taller than 100 meters below deck in the world. And most of them are in China! They include the Sunxihe, Qingshuihe, Honghe Bridge Jianyuan, Dahe, Malinghe Fenglin, and Tiger Leaping Railway. The Yangbaoshan grand bridge, which stretches 1,112 meters in length, is part of the Guiyang-Huangping Highway. Stretching across the Dumu River, it is strategic to the economic development of the area because it shortens the travel time between Guiyang and Huangping from 5 hours to just 1.2 hours!
It will also serve ethnic minorities in places like Qiannan Prefecture and Qiandongnan Prefecture. The Guihuang Expressway project starts in Nanming District of Guiyang City, passes through Wudang District, Longli County, Guiding County, Fuquan City, and finally ends in Huangping County, Southeast Guizhou Prefecture. The endpoint is connected with Yukai Expressway. The main span of the bridge is 650 meters. The two main cables are the main lifeline of the entire bridge, and they were erected using a novel approach first tried at the site in the whole of China! These cables weigh almost 4600 tonnes and are each composed of 36 through length strands.
They use high-strength galvanized steel wires. If all the individual steel wires used in the cables are separated and joined together at the ends, the resulting wire will be longer than 26,000 km! This is more than twice the diameter of the earth! The cables were constructed right on the spot, eliminating the need for transporting the massive objects. Engineers stress-tested the Yangbaoshan Bridge by parking 48 large loaded trucks weighing 1680 tonnes ahead of its opening. The next Chines
megabridge is the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge cum tunnel system, known as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, HZMB. It is a massive 55 km long bridge linking Hong Kong, Macau, and Zhuhai together.
Before it was built, tourists and travelers moving from or to Hong Kong had to take a ferry. China conceived the
megabridge to create a Greater Bay Area that covers Hong Kong, Macau, and nine other Chinese cities. The zone houses almost 70 million people. Moving between Zhuhai and Hong Kong used to be a four hours long affair, but the HZMB has cut it to only 30 minutes. Opened to traffic in 2018, the HZMB gulped a whopping 20 billion dollars. However, Chinese officials expect it to generate up to 1.44 trillion dollars for the economy, which is a good return on investment. The project suffered a two-year delay and claimed the lives of at least 18 construction workers, according to officials.
Chinese President Xi Jinping declared it open after nine years of construction! To withstand earthquakes and typhoons, the builders used about 400,000 tonnes of steel, which would have built 60 Eiffel Towers! About 30 km of the bridge’s total length crosses the sea of the Pearl River delta. To allow ships through, a 6.7 km section in the middle disappears into an undersea tunnel that connects two artificial islands. The remaining sections are link roads, viaducts, and land tunnels connecting Zhuhai and Hong Kong to the main bridge. The bridge requires constant maintenance, and the government expects to spend close to 30 million dollars per year to keep it in perfect condition!
As fascinating as the HZMB is, not everybody can drive on it! To use the bridge, you need a special permit which officials dole out using a quota system. Even after getting the precious permit, you still have to pay a toll. As the bridge is not approved for public transport, only private shuttle buses will ply the route. Also, the planners did not include a rail link. And if you ever get to drive on the bridge, you must be alert because there are yawn cams waiting to catch drivers yawning! In fact, if you yawn three times, local authorities will be automatically alerted!
So make sure you are well rested before attempting to cross! However, there are cameras for detecting terror threats, as well as special police patrols. Also, because drivers in China and Hong Kong drive on the opposite sides of the road, there are special merging channels to allow drivers to switch lanes. Authorities initially estimated that 9,200 vehicles would cross the bridge every day. But they lowered their projection when new transport networks were built in the region. Let’s hear what you think of the mega bridges in China in the comment section below!