Aizhai Bridge (2012) Jishou, Hunan, China
The Aizhai Bridge is a steel truss suspension bridge which was built near Jishou, Hunan Province as part of an expressway from southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality to Changsha. It takes its name from the nearby town of Aizhai and it crosses the valley of the River Dehang.
Construction on the Aizhai Bridge began in October 2007 and was completed ahead of schedule by the end of 2011. It was formally opened to traffic in March 2012. The completion of the bridge shortens the journey time between Chongqing and Changsha in this very mountainous region from several days to just eight hours. The deck carries six lanes of traffic with a pedestrian walkway underneath.
With a main span of 1,146m (3,760 ft) and a deck height of 350m (1,150 ft) it is the sixth-highest bridge in the world and the world’s fifteenth-longest suspension bridge. It is also the world’s highest and longest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge with some unique design features. Unlike conventional suspension bridge construction the superstructure is attached directly to the approach tunnels and separated from the supporting towers. Another interesting feature is that the mountain top location allowed engineers to reduce the height of one supporting tower to just 50m (165 ft) unusually short for such a wide spanned bridge.
The bridge was built with the assistance of a $208 million loan from the Asian Development Bank; which also funded 64 kilometres (40 miles) of expressway construction and upgrades to 129 kilometres (80 miles) of local roads.