China has announced completion of the world’s longest over-water bridge: the three-way, 26.4-mile Qingdao Haiwan Bridge.
The bridge connects the port city of Qingdao with the suburb of Huangdo across the Jiaozhou Bay. It is almost three miles longer than the previous record-holder, the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway in Louisiana.
The project was built in four years by more than 10,000 workers, who worked in two teams around the clock. Construction began from each end and was connected in the middle in the last few days, reported Want China Times.
6 Lanes, 5,200 Columns
The bridge uses 450,000 tons of steel—enough for almost 65 Eiffel Towers—and 2.3 million cubic meters of concrete, equivalent to filling 3,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools, the newspaper said.
Chinese officials say the bridge can withstand a typhoon, the impact of a 300,000-ton vessel, or a magnitude 8 earthquake.
The six-lane road bridge is supported by more than 5,200 columns and was designed by the Shandong Gausu Group, The Telegraph of London reported.
It is expected to carry more than 30,000 cars a day when it opens later this year and will shorten the commute between Qingdao and Huangdao by 19 miles, or about 20 to 30 minutes, officials said.
“Qingdao's residents have hailed the bridge as a long-overdue marvel,” Want China Times reported.
It quoted one commuter on sina.com as saying: "I'm so happy the bridge is finished. The old road between Qingdao and Huangdao is so crowded, and now my journey will be much easier. We are a tourist city with beautiful beaches, so it is important we have good transport links.”
Others were less impressed, however, the report added.
"To spend billions to save 20 minutes driving time is a waste of taxpayers’ money,” a commentator in northeast China was quoted as saying. “It's just a show project to make the governor of Shandong look good."
China is already home to seven of the world's 10 longest bridges, including the 102-mile Danyang-Kunshan rail bridge, which runs over land and water near Shanghai.
The new bridge’s record won’t hold for long. A 31-mile bridge between Hong Kong and Zhuhai in southern Guangdong Province is already underway and expected to be completed by 2016.