Awe-Inspiring Construction of Mountain Highway Bridges in China
China is home to some of the most spectacular mountains, and some of the deepest gorges that need to be spanned with ridiculously tall bridges - and all these infrastructure projects are supposed to be good for Chinese economy. [via darkroastblend]
There is only one problem: the amount of jaws dropped into the gorges by awestruck tourists and the sense of professional envy these bridges inspire in architects around the world, itching to land a similarly grand project:
Building West Hubei and Shanghai Chengdu Expressway Bridge - some 1365 meters in length, towering 650 meters over the bottom of the gorge (images via)
You need to build a bridge over THAT? (this is what passes for a "mountain valley" in China) -
Well, this will require piers at least 150m tall -
A concept rendering of a bridge that has been actually completed in September 2008 as part of Jinji Expressway:
Construction goes on with the help of rockets and guided "missiles" (with a cable attached to them) -
Vertigo smorgasbord for all tastes:
Built for Tarzan:
A drive from Shanghai to Chengdu promises to be spectacular.... some mountain tunnels in China are even decorated with special lighting effects:
This is Guizhou Beipanjiang Bridge, built for the Shanghai-Kunming highway: 1564 meters long, stretching about 370 meters above the waters - the second tallest bridge in the world.
(images source, via)
An old design (not used) was not too shabby, either... strongly suggesting the Great Millau Bridge (see here) -
More interesting Chinese bridges
Beipanjiang river railroad bridge in Guizhou:
(image source, via)
This one almost copies the overall shape (without the underlying mechanics) of Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which we covered in Part 1 - this is Sanhao Bridge over Hunhe River in Shenyang, Liaoning Province:
Night time illumination on the Dashengguan bridge (right: bridge in Nanning) -
Fuling Yangtze River Bridge:
Big Red Dragon needs Big Red Bridges, it seems: Taiping Lake Bridge in Anhui Province -
"If you demolish bridges behind you, then there is no choice but forward" (bad motivational advice)
Transporting bridges can indeed be a beautiful sight (Portlanders were treated to such scenes in 2007, for example, when Port of Portland's old bridge center section was replaced) -
Controlled demolition of bridges can be a fantastic job: this spectacular photo shows the end of the old Jamestown bridge in Rhode Island (also watch video)
Photo by Tom Cote, National Geographic
Notable Bridges Around the World
As we continue to cover some of the most impressive (tallest, longest, etc.) bridges, Dubai's "Largest Arch Bridge", planned for 2012 (not sure, if it's still on schedule), surprises with the graceful curves - more info
The mighty Humber Bridge in Hull, England, comes to mind next:
(images via 1, 2)
Even though it's only fifth-largest suspension single-span bridge in the world, it's also quite graceful and inspiring in its arching curve. Before the bridge was built, local folks had to use hovercraft service - it was unreliable, plagued with mechanical problems, but an adventure in itself (in a sooty- dieselpunkish way)
Treat your eyes on these classic shots of the Humber Bridge's "vanishing point" -
(images credit: Nick Holowka and BBC)
The Confederation Bridge linking Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, Canada, is extremely long and looks like a leasurely white snake floating in deep blue waters when seen from above:
Their site has impressive pictures of waterspout occurring in vicinity... Impressive efforts of mother nature and human engineering combined:
(images credit: ConfederationBridge.com)
Another snake... This one is Chinese: Donghai Bridge, from Luchao Harbour City near Shanghai to a small island (more info) -
Russian futurism.... a bridge in Siberia... dreamy....
(art by Tekhnika Molodezhi, 1974)
Also, we just have to mention the proposed Alaskan Bridge, really a "Bridge to Nowhere", a bizarre project endorsed by Sara Palin and mercifully put to rest by President Obama... "I have a bridge to sell you up in Alaska"... no, thanks! The story about it can be watched here.
Mystery and Beauty of Historic Bridges
A magical evening on a bridge in Bruges, Belgium:
Photos by Avi Abrams
The Forth Bridge in Scotland, which spans the Firth of Forth, should not be confused with the Forth Road bridge that's nearby. This rail bridge is best enjoyed at sunset:
(image credit: George Gastin)
For a taste of the long-gone glory of steel, steam, iron and more steel, take a good look at this photograph taken in the 1950s:
"Crossing the Forth Bridge" - image via, credit: National Railway Museum, A C Mullay and Ian Allan Publ.
Teufels Brucke at the Andermatt station in Switzerland:
(images credit: dwb)
Dangerous Bridge Crossings
You know how they say "build bridges instead of walls and you will have a friend"? If you build bridges like these, though, you may end up with enemies instead.
Crossing some of these rickety structures requires guts, skills and a prayer; and some others can provide the excitement (which is a good thing) -
Animals don't seem to mind, or maybe they just can't express it...
Bridges in Pakistan... or actually absence of them
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