Sutong Yangtze River BridgeCopyright: ANR2008

Sutong Yangtze River Bridge

The time to cross the immense river by one of the four ferries was 1 hour the journey across the bridge is reduced to around 5 minutes and with a major industrial region in Jiangsu province and a population of 74 million it was a vital project.

Like most bridges that cross large expanses of water or are particularly high there are many structural considerations to be considered. The Sutong Yangtze Bridge is no different as there are on average 30 days per year of fog, 120 days a year of constant rain during the Monsoon season and then there are Typhoons. The river itself is so wide and deep that it has varying currents and this caused issues. The bedrock is 270m (900ft) below the surface and many metres of silt and mud. More impressively the design built in a safety measure to withstand an impact from a 50 million kg (50,000 t) container ship, similar to those that pass beneath daily.

The ingenuity was not just in the design but also in its construction bearing in mind fog, rain and very high winds up to 70km/h (43mp/h).

Sutong Yangtze Bridge construction
Copyright: Trevor and Joce

Each tower had built in hydraulic cranes meaning that the bridge was mostly crane independent.

Upon opening on May 25th 2008 it went onto the record books 4 times: 1,088m (357 ft) was the longest span, the 306m (1,003 ft) high tower was the highest the two foundation piers are the deepest and it was the longest cable stay of the bridge was 580m (1,900 ft).

There are 32.2km (20 miles) of cable, 200 million kg (20 million tonnes) of steel, 1 million m3 (328 million ft3) of concrete and 3 million m3 (9.84 billion ft3) of soil as filling for the foundation pilings all at a cost of $6.45 billion.

It is estimate that by 2025 there could be nearly 90,000 cars per day making the crossing. A toll is in place to pay back the huge loans that was taken out for its construction.

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