A remote, mountainous region of China is now home to the world’s highest bridge, which opened to traffic Dec. 30.
The Beipanjiang Bridge Duge, which spans the Beipan River in the provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan, is 1,854 feet above the river surface at its highest point—a drop of more than one-third of a mile. The 4,400-foot-long span reportedly cost $144 million to build.
The Beipanjiang carries the Hangzhou-Ruili Expressway across the Beipan Gorge, reportedly cutting the length of a trip between Liupanshui and Xuianwei, in southwestern China, from about five hours to about two.
China Leads on High Bridges
Construction of the cable-stayed span began in 2013 and was completed in September 2016. It displaces the Sidu River Bridge, near the center of China, as the world’s highest. According to HighestBridges.com, eight of the world’s 10 highest bridges are in China.
Earlier this year, the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge opened in China’s Hunan Province; that structure holds the title of the world’s longest and highest glass-bottomed bridge.
World's 'Tallest' Bridge
While the new Beipanjiang’s towers are tall, reportedly measuring 883 feet, the structure doesn’t qualify as the world’s “tallest” bridge, measured from where piers emerge from the ground or water up to the top of the structure’s highest point. That honor goes to France's Millau Viaduct, opened in 2004, which has a structural height of 1,125 feet, but whose deck is only about 890 feet above the surface below—less than half of the Beipanjiang’s deck height.