A bridge too far? China has opened the world's longest sea crossing. The eight-lane, 35-metre-wide structure cost £1.4bn. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-Zuma/Rex Features China, which seems to complete mammoth infrastructure projects on a routine basis, has claimed another world-beater with the opening of the longest sea bridge.
The 26-mileJiaozhou Bay crossing connects the bustling port city of Qingdao, south-east of Beijing, to the industrial district of Huangdao.
The eight-lane, 35-metre-wide bridge opened to traffic on Thursday morning, China's Xinhua news agency said. Built over a four-year period the project cost about £1.4bn and uses 5,000 pillars. It shortens the driving route between the two locations by about 20 miles.
Somewhat inevitably, the bridge takes the world record from another Chinese sea crossing, the 22.5-mile Hangzhou Bay bridge, which opened in 2008, connecting the cities of Jiaxing and Ningbo, south of Shanghai. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, at almost 24 miles, is slightly longer but crosses an inland waterway rather than open sea.
China is constructing an even more ambitious bridge. Work began in December 2009 on a Y-shaped structure linking Guangdong province in southern China to Hong Kong and Macau. Building is expected to be finished in 2015, and the bridge is expected to cover about 31 miles, although only about 22 miles will span the sea.
China has opened the world’s longest cross-sea bridge - which stretches five miles further than the distance between Dover and Calais. The Jiaozhou Bay bridge is 26.4 miles long and links China’s eastern port city of Qingdao to the offshore island Huangdao. The road bridge, which is 110ft wide and is the longest of its kind, cost nearly £1billion to build. Chinese TV reports said the bridge passed construction appraisals on Monday and it, along with an undersea tunnel, would be opened for traffic yesterday. It took four years to build the bridge, which is supported by more than 5,000 pillars across the bay, and it is almost three miles longer than the previous record-holder - the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. That structure features two bridges running side by side and is 23.87 miles long. Two separate groups of workers have been building it from different ends of the structure since 2006. After linking the two ends of the bridge on December 22, one engineer said: ‘The computer models and calculations are all very well but you can’t relax until the two sides are bolted together. Even a few centimetres out would have been a disaster.’ The engineering feat will only hold the record as the longest sea bridge for a few years - it will be beaten by another Chinese bridge in the next decade. Last December officials announced workers had begun constructing a bridge to link southern Guangdong province with Hong Kong and Macau. Set to be completed in 2016, officials said the £6.5billion bridge will span nearly 30 miles. It will be designed to cope with earthquakes up to magnitude 8.0, strong typhoons and the impact of a 300,000 tonne vessel. But both structures will still be dwarfed by the longest bridge in the world, also in China.