China 2018 Trip
Come Along On Our 6th Annual Bridge Trip To China
July 1 - July 21, 2018
No other river on earth has seen more bridge building activity then China's famous Yangtze River. Between Shanghai in the East and Chongqing City 1,000 miles to the west, more then 70 major spans have been constructed in the last 20 years. Nearly half the world's longest suspension and cable stayed bridges cross or are in the vicinity of the Yangtze including Hutong and Sutong, the world's 2nd longest and largest cable stayed and Chaotianmen and Shibanpo, the world's longest arch and beam bridges. The cities of Wuhan and Chongqing are home to more then 10 Yangtze bridge crossings a piece. Also in the final stages of construction are Yangsigang Bridge, the 2nd longest suspension bridge on earth. The start of the trip will begin at the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge where the highest railway suspension bridge and the longest single tower suspension bridge are under construction along with Jinshajiang Jin'an, the first high level suspension bridge in China to surpass the main span of the Golden Gate Bridge.
With so many large spans unseen to bridge fans outside of China, HighestBridges.com will be undertaking an unprecedented trip to visit all of the major crossings across the entire official length of the Yangtze from the city of Lijiang before the Jinsha Jiang becomes the Yangtze River all the way to the mouth of the Yangtze at Shanghai. But our trip does not end with these 60 spans. In addition, we will also be visiting several of Western China's highest bridge spans along the G42 expressway in Chongqing and a tour of the 3 Gorges Dam, the largest hydro electric structure on earth.
Our 6th annual bridge trip will follow the pattern set with the 2011 High Bridge Trip with a small group of bridge fans meeting in Shanghai before flying to Tiger Leaping Gorge deep in western China where our trip will begin with our personal driver, mini-van and interpreter. This is no chartered bus trip to a scenic overlook for a quick snapshot of each bridge. Our driver will be dropping us off in the center or at one end of each bridge where we will hike across the span on pedestrian walkways or in the safety lane as well as trekking underneath the deck and just about anywhere else we can legally go to get that perfect photo. Expect to smell, touch and feel these bridges in a way you could never do in Europe or the U.S. Prepare for some dust, dirt and a lot of sweat.
While the emphasis of the 2018 trip is very different then the high bridge theme of previous trips that also makes up the contents of this website, these super long spans will be every bit as spectacular and amazing. This 3-week trip will be open to no more then 6 people as we will be traveling in one mini-van or a large SUV. This will be a gathering of adventurous bridge fanatics who don’t mind a journey off the beaten path.
You will visit more than 60 long span bridges on this trip
including 5 of the world's 10 longest suspension bridges,
5 of the world's 10 longest cable stayed bridges,
5 of the world's 10 longest arch bridges,
the world's 2 longest double span suspension bridges,
2 of the world's largest extradosed bridges,
the world's highest railway suspension bridge,
the world's longest beam bridge
and so much more!
The sixth ever HighestBridges.com Organized Bridge Trip to China includes:
• All Ground Transportation via one 6 or 8-seat SUV for 3 full weeks
• 21 Nights of Lodging from Sunday Night 7/1 through Sunday Night 7/21
• Flight from Shanghai to Tiger Leaping Gorge in Western China.
• Three meals per day plus snacks & drinks
• Visits to at least 10 Yangtze River Bridge construction sites
• Exclusive 2018 Trip Photo Album posted on this website.
• View the 3-week 2011 Trip Photo Album at: http://highestbridges.com/wiki/index.php?title=2011_High_Bridge_Trip_Photo_Album
• View the 3-week 2012 Trip Photo Album at: http://highestbridges.com/wiki/index.php?title=2012_High_Bridge_Trip_Photo_Album
• View the 3-week 2013 Trip Photo Album at: http://highestbridges.com/wiki/index.php?title=2013_High_Bridge_Trip_Photo_Album
• View the 3-week 2014 Trip Photo Album at: http://highestbridges.com/wiki/index.php?title=2014_High_Bridge_Trip_Photo_Album
• All for just $4,950!
Bridges of the 2018 China Trip
Wuhan is becoming one of the top bridges cities in the world with at least 8 Yangtze River crossings finished or under construction with 2 more to come by 2015. The latest of these is the record breaking Yangsigang Bridge, the 2nd longest suspension bridge on earth holding up a double level truss with an incredible 10 lanes of traffic.
With towers 194 meters tall and a span of 660 meters, the Tiger Leaping Gorge Railway Bridge has surpassed all other high speed railway suspension bridge crossings in scale.
The west side cable of the Jinshajiang Hutiaoxia Bridge will terminate into a unique mountain anchorage with no tower support.
The trip will be taking us more then 1,500 miles from the upper reaches in Chongqing to the ocean crossings of the Shanghai region. Click in for a closer look!
Closer to Shanghai is Hutong Bridge, the largest cable stayed bridge on earth with a main span of 1,092 meters supporting a giant truss with 6 lanes of traffic and 4 lines of high speed railway. The two main towers will be the second tallest bridge structures on earth at 325 meters.
One of the more famous bridges to rise above the Yangtze is Sutong, the longest cable stayed bridge on earth with a span of 1,088 meters. Less known is the awesome 2 floor museum near the south approach with more models, drawings and photos then you will ever see on the construction of one bridge. The two towers of Sutong are 306 meters high while the total bridge length is 8,206 meters. Construction began in June 2003 and the bridge opened in June 2008. The cost was $1.7 billion dollars.
Just as spectacular and not to be ignored is the nearby Yangluo Bridge and one of the 15 longest suspension bridges on earth. The double X Andrews Cross bracing give it a distinctive look from China's more conventional ladder-type suspension bridge tower braces.
With a span of 600 meters, E'gongyan is not as large as some of China's other suspension bridges but the span was the first of what will eventually be 4 large suspension crossings in the vicinity of Chongqing City. The tower tops have a signature suspension bridge "logo".
The two new Dongting Lake Bridges will be completed in 2018 and include an asymmetrical suspension bridge with a main span of 1,480 meters and the largest double span railway cable stayed crossing with a configuration of 406 meters x 2.
With much of its height "hidden" under the deep Yangtze 3 Gorges reservoir, it is hard to see that the towers of the Badong Yangtze River bridge are 200 meters tall from the top of foundation to the wonderful chrome balls at the top of each tower. Also expect to be wowed by a visit to a couple of new arch bridges just east of the city that are 100 meters high.
Now more then 10 years old, the Baishazhou Bridge was one of the longest cable stayed bridges in the world in 2000 with a main span of 618 meters. The A-frame towers are very similar to Shanghai's Xupu Bridge which it was likely modeled after. The bridge has become a maintenance nightmare since its completion but will hopefully be around for future bridge fans to enjoy.
With the tallest railway bridge pier supports ever at 456 feet, the absolutely monstrous Caijiagou Viaduct is one for the record books. Crossing 2 deep valleys, the 2 track bridge is well over 100 meters high for most of its 2 kilometer length and should be completed by late 2012 when it will open along the first ever high speed line from Chongqing City to Shanghai. All you can say is wow!
With its bright red ribs above the road deck contrasting with lower level concrete supports, the Caiyuanba Bridge makes a striking new addition to Chongqing's ever growing collection of super spans. The central gap of 420 meters is among the 10 longest arch spans on earth. Traveling through the lower level truss is a unique mono rail metro line.
The Chongqing fun continues with a stop at the longest span arch bridge on earth, Chaotianmen. Located just north of the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers, this soaring red super span has 6 lanes on the top level with 4 more below that share room with 2 rail lines. The shape of the arch was inspired by the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge which in turn had been inspired by New York's Hell Gate Bridge.
One of the 10 longest span cable stayed spans on earth, the Chongming Island connection to Shanghai is also one of the most beautiful with single towers supporting a rare split roadway box deck that is over 50 meters wide. The towers rise 210 meters above the Yangtze River.
With beautiful blue pin stripes slicing down the center of each white tower, the Fengjie Bridge gives a nice welcome to travelers entering the 3 Gorges region from the west. The main span is 460 meters.
With unpainted towers, the Fuling Bridge proudly shows off its raw concrete A-frame cable stayed towers. Since its construction in 1997, Fuling city has added 4 more major cable stayed spans to its growing collection with a 5th to be completed in late 2012.
Fuling Lidu Bridge is located upstream of the city and was completed in 2007 with a main span of 398 meters. Just when you thought conventional H-frame cable stayed bridge towers went out of fashion in the 1990s!
Guojiao Bridge was completed in 2011 as the first extradosed bridge to be built across the Yangtze with a main span of 248 meters. The wishbone shaped towers make the design an even rarer breed of the extradosed bridge style.
HanTangjiatuo is yet another giant truss stiffened cable stayed bridge that will be completed in 2012 for the new high speed line between Shanghai and Chongqing. The west end terminates into a tunnel.
The arch ribs of Hejiang Bridge were closed in December of 2011. With a span of 513 meters this is the 5th longest arch on earth and the second longest Yangtze River arch after Chaotianmen. The arch design was chosen over more conventional cable stayed and suspension bridges.
Hejiang is another of China's CFST or concrete filled tubular arch bridges in which the thin walled steel tubes sections are light and easily erected before concrete is pumped into them. Once hardened, the concrete solidifies and stiffens the arch, improving the compressive strength of the entire structure.
One of the newest spans in the region upstream of Chongqing City is the under construction Jiangjin Yingbing Bridge with beautiful wishbone shaped towers inspired by the 3rd Nanjing Bridge. The truss deck looks to have a rail or metro on the lower level.
No bridge trip to China would be complete without visiting a rare self anchored suspension bridge. Opened in 2011, the Jiangxinzhou Bridge in Nanjing is one of the largest and most beautiful examples with a single tower supporting an unusual split box girder deck.
Way back in 1999, Jiangyin was the last downstream crossing of the Yangtze as well as the longest span bridge in China. With the completion of the Runyang Bridge in 2005, the Xihoumen Bridge in 2009 and the 4th Nanjing Bridge in 2012, Jiangyin became the fourth largest in China. Today it still ranks among the world's 10 longest with a main span of 1,385 meters or 4,544 feet. The concrete towers are 190 metres tall. The main span is made of flat streamlined steel box girders. The steel deck was erected by raising pre-assembled units weighing up to 500 metric tons with jacks.
The giant Wufengshan Yangtze Railway and Road Bridge will be opening in 2020 as the longest span high speed railway crossing in the world supported by the thickest suspension bridge cables ever spun. The truss depth of 14 meters will also be one for the record books.
Of the two big extradosed bridges we will be visiting, the most spectacular will be the Jiayue Bridge across the Jialing River gorge north of Chongqing City. The unique Y-shaped towers rise from a deck that is already some 90 meters above the river. Completed in 2011, this beautiful highway crossing was designed by the Chongqing office of T.Y. Lin International which also has headquarters in San Francisco.
Completed in 2010, the Jingyue cable stayed bridge is unique in that the main span of 816 meters is supported by towers of uneven height with the taller tower measuring 265 meters and the shorter one measuring 200 meters. This is also the longest span cable stayed bridge in the world with conventional H-frame style towers.
One of the dozen longest span single tower cable stayed bridge in the world, Luzhou's Taian Bridge crossing carries 2 lanes of local traffic and opened in 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics.
Ma'anshan Bridge will be nearly completed during our 2012 visit and consists of the 2 longest back to back suspension spans on earth. The concrete section that makes up the lower portion of the central tower is somewhat different then downstream neighbor Taizhou which is made up of an all steel A-frame style support.
Ma'anshan Bridge engineers spent many long hours calculating the more unusual cable stay forces within the oval shaped tower supports.
Masangxi Bridge is tied with Dafosi as the 3rd Chongqing City cable stayed bridge to be built cross the Yangtze.
The punchy red colors of the Meixihe arch bridge made it my choice for the photo you see on the main page of HighestBridges.com. The rising waters of the 3 Gorges reservoir made it necessary to build the nearly 1,000 foot arch span. Just upstream of the arch is the giant Meixihe cable stayed bridge that carries the G42 expressway along the North side of the Yangtze River and the 3 Gorges region.
For many decades the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge was China’s most famous crossing. It was completed in 1968 and is the first double-decker, double-track highway and railway bridge designed and constructed by the Chinese without outside engineering assistance.
After the withdrawal of Soviet experts following the Sino-Soviet Split, the project was undertaken to prove that Chinese engineers were able to take on a project of this size on their own. There is also a bus stop and a museum. The bridge is 6,772 meters long and has a span of 160 meters.
The central river crossing section of Nanjing spans 1,577 meters with the bridge approaches measuring another 3,012 meters. The upper deck of the bridge is a highway with a length of 4,589 meters. There are sidewalks on either side of the highway and each measures over two meters in width. The lower deck holds a twin-track railway with a length of 6,772 meters and a width of 14 meters that allows two trains to run in different directions.
With just one crossing for over 3 decades, the city of Nanjing finally built a 2nd crossing in 2001 in the form of a huge cable stayed bridge with a main span of 628 meters.
Just 20 meters longer then the 2nd Nanjing Bridge, the 3rd Nanjing crossing became an instant Nanjing icon in 2005 with steel towers that continuously curve as they rise 705 feet above the Yangtze River.
With deck lifting underway in late 2011, the 4th Nanjing suspension bridge is well on its way to becoming the 6th longest suspension bridge on earth when it opens in mid-2012. Despite ranking 3rd in span length in China behind Xihoumen and Runyang South, the Nanjing 4 has two completely suspended side spans giving it the longest continuous section of suspended bridge deck on a single span suspension bridge in China. The curving cross brace on each of the 225 meter high towers will make the bridge more distinctive then China's other super long suspension spans.
Pengxihe is another "cable stayed bridge on stilts" with the taller of the two towers measuring a lofty 663 feet.
Despite its ranking as the 4th longest suspension span on earth, Runyang Bridge is easily the least known of the world's 10 longest spans so maybe this mention will add a little more to its notoriety. The suspension component of Runyang is just one portion of the entire crossing which measures a jaw-dropping 22 miles from end to end. The north bridge is a cable-stayed structure with a main span of 406 meters supported by towers 150 meters tall. In between the two bridges is the island of Siyezhou where we will be staying at a 4-star hotel overlooking both spans. The suspension deck is a streamlined orthotropic steel box girder that is 3 meters deep. The width of the deck is 39 meters, accommodating 6 traffic lanes and a narrow walkway. The height clearance for river navigation is about 50 meters.
The highest bridge of the entire trip will be the new Shennongxi cable stayed bridge that crosses 200 meters above the deep waters of the 3 Gorges reservoir. Once completed in mid-2012, the Shennongxi Bridge and the G42 expressway will finally allow motorists to go non-stop on a high speed expressway from Shanghai to Western China along the north side of the Yangtze River.
The most popular type of bridge on earth is the beam. As common as they are with millions of examples around the world, none is as large as Chongqing City's record breaking Shibanpo Bridge. Opened in 2006 and designed by T.Y. Lin International, the main span of 330 meters consists of a 103 meter central steel box girder suspended between two concrete arms.
The steel box element was incorporated into the design to significantly reduce the bending moment and shear of the structure and make such a long span beam structure technically and economically efficient. This steel box section was fabricated in Wuchang, a city about 1,000 km downstream of Chongqing on the Yangtze River. The fabricated steel box section was closed on both ends with steel noses, launched as a barge and towed upstream by tug boats. Along its journey, it went through the locks of the Three Gorge Dam. On May 27, 2006, after it arrived at the site, the steel section was turned 90 degrees using cables anchored at both banks of the river. Then the 1,400-ton, 103 meter long box girder was lifted successfully from the Yangtze River to its final place with strand jacks.
While Taizhou Bridge broke the record books in 2011 as the longest double span suspension bridge, this mighty crossing of the Yangtze also broke cable length records with two of the longest bundles of wire ever spun from anchorage to anchorage with a cable length exceeded only by Japan's Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge.
The central tower of Taizhou is made entirely of steel with an A-frame tower support that is quite different then upstream neighbor Ma'anshan which has a single support made of concrete. Both spans share the world record with back to back spans of 1,080 meters.
Tianxingzhou broke records in 2009 when it became the longest combination road and rail cable stayed bridge in the world with a span of 504 meters. That record was broken again in 2012 when downstream neighbor Anqing opened an even bigger road and rail span of 580 meters which in turn will be surpassed by another Yangtze crossing at Tongling with a span of 630 meters in 2014. Tianxingzhou is one of a collection of what will soon be 10 Yangtze River crossings in the vicinity of Wuhan.
While the world waits for Tongling to complete their record breaking road and rail bridge, we can currently enjoy a visit to their 1995 cable stayed crossing of the Yangtze
Wanxian was one of China's first bridges to enter the record books, in this case for longest concrete arch. Completed in 1995 the arch spans over 420 meters above the deep waters of the 3 Gorges reservoir. During construction, a concrete-filled tubular arch truss frame was built to support the weight of the concrete arch and is embedded within the arch. The span displaced the previous record holder, Croatia's Krk Island Bridge. China is now working on an even larger concrete arch for a rail line in Guizhou Province.
Just downstream of the giant Wanxian arch is the more conventional but no less beautiful Wanzhou No. 2 suspension bridge which was completed in 2004 to give Wanzhou residents a crossing of the Yangtze on the north side of the city.
Also known as Wuhan Bridge No. 4, the Wuhan Junshan cable stayed bridge carries the G4 outer ring road around the southern end of Wuhan City with a span of 460 meters. The bridge became 10 years old in 2011.
One of China's early road and rail bridges from 2000, the Wuhu cable stayed bridge has a main span of 312 meters or just about half the central span of the now under construction road and rail bridge in nearby Tongling. As with all of these hybrids, the concrete cable stay towers are considerably bulkier then their road-only counterparts.
Wujiang's arch became one of the first bridges in China to be built by the rotation method where the two halves of the arch are constructed just above the ground on either hillside and then rotated out over the canyon in one careful maneuver and then closed at the crown.
Fuling's 6th and final cable stayed bridge will cross the Wujiang just upstream from the famous arch. The new highway skirts along the east side of the Yangtze and will open in late 2012. The span length is unknown but will likely be in the 500 meter range. The deck will be at least 100 meters over the 3 Gorges reservoir that flooded the mouth of the Wujiang River just north of Fuling City.
The Wushan Yangtze River bridge is one of the 10 longest arch spans on earth and is arguably one of China's most beautiful with the surrounding mountains of the 3 Gorges rising thousands of feet above the river valley. A half through arch, Wushan ranks 7th among the world’s longest span arch bridges. The main arch was constructed using the stayed cantilever method whereby a tower is erected on either side of the gorge and cables temporarily radiate out from it to support individual sections of the arch until the two halves can be joined in the middle. A cable high line between the tops of the two towers was used to move the steel sections into place high above the river. Once the arch was closed, concrete was pumped into the 8 main ribs of the arch span, stiffening and strengthening the entire structure.
The new G42 crossing of the Daninghe is one of the 12 longest arches ever built with a span of 400 meters. The new steel arch is both a physical and spiritual replacement for the Dragon’s Gate bridge that once spanned the mouth of the Daning River before the rising waters of the 3 Gorges reservoir forced its removal. The concrete arch gateway marked the starting point for millions of tourists on their boating adventure up the most spectacular tributary of the entire Yangtze River 3 Gorges region - the Daninghe. Known as the Lesser Three Gorges to differentiate it from the Yangtze River, a trek up the Daninghe reveals more than just one of China’s largest arch bridges. The initial Dragon Gate gorge has many wonders beginning with the longest plank walkway in China. Further along is Misty Gorge with beautifully sculptured stalactites tagged with colorful names like Monkey Fishing in the Air and Fairy Peach Peak. Continuing into the final Emerald Gorge, boats pass such landmarks as the Sky-Scraping Red Wall and Flying Clouds Cave.
Xiling Bridge is located just a few kilometers downstream from the Three Gorges Dam and is not open to the public to drive across without permission. Completed in 1996, the 18 meter wide bridge has a tower to tower span of 900 meters and was built largely to assist in the construction of the monstrous dam.
Yichang Bridge is typical of most of China's big suspension bridges with unsuspended side spans and concrete towers. The tower to tower length of 960 meters is long enough to rank it among the world's 25 longest suspension bridges. Both the towers and deck stand out with their all red paint scheme.
The new Yichang Yangtze Railway Bridge has the 2 longest railway beam bridge spans in the world at 275 meters apiece albeit with the assistance of two tied arches.
Yiling Bridge is the only crossing of the Yangtze River located directly across from the city of Yichang. At the time of its construction in 2001, Yiling was one of the world's longest 3-tower cable stayed bridges with two central spans of 346 meters.
Yingwuzhou is Wuhan's latest crossing of the Yangtze with two back to back spans of 850 meters - equivalent to the 2 Tacoma Narrows Bridge spans placed end to end. This will be Wuhan's 8th crossing of the Yangtze with a 9th and 10th crossing to begin construction in 2012. Yingwuzhou's catwalks should be complete during our visit. The name translates to Parrot Chou Bridge.
Lijiatuo Bridge has the distinction of being the first Chongqing City cable stayed bridge to be built across the Yangtze "way back" in 1995.
Yunyang is a rare cable stayed bridge with asymmetrical towers. The taller tower is 85 feet higher above the Yangtze River. Like many other big bridges that are over the 3 Gorges reservoir, Yunyang's deck height of 104 meters is now only half visible with the water level having been raised 75 meters over the old level of the Yangtze River. Yunyang means "clouded sun" which is probably a good description of the weather that often hangs over the region.
The latest Chongqing City regional suspension bridge is Yuzui, located on the northeast side of the city to facilitate easy access to the huge new city airport. The main span measures 616 meters with a 100 foot wide deck that carries 6 lanes of traffic plus 2 safety lanes. The span is composed of 50 steel box girder sections that are 12 meters long with each weighing 180 tons.
Far less known then its counterparts in Nanjing and Wuhan, the Zhicheng crossing of the Yangtze is another huge road and rail behemoth with 9 spans of 160 meters.
Zhongxian Yangtze Bridge is the longest of all the upper Yangtze crossings with a length of 2,129 meters composed of an assortment of spans that are as follows: 35X3+40X3+112+200+112+205+460+205+40X4+30X15. The bridge is half submerged in the deep waters of the 3 Gorges reservoir and carries the western end of the G50 expressway across the Yangtze River.
The newest bridge to be under construction on the trip will likely be the new Chongqing metro line crossing of the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers which necessitated the construction of two separate cable stayed bridges known as Dongshuimen and Qianximen that are separated by a long tunnel. The towers were carefully designed by T.Y. Lin International to have a curvilinear shape in all directions that will give them a beautiful, signature look that has also added considerably to the cost. The orange color scheme may well divert attention away from nearby Chaotianmen arch bridge. Chongqing City is quickly becoming the Pittsburgh of China with what may well become the greatest collection of large scale bridges to be located in one city.
A total of 4 to 6 people will be on the trip plus myself and one or two drivers. As trip planners and organizers, we will be taking care of everything for the 4 to 6 additional guests. This includes the round trip air fare from Shanghai to Western China as well as the hotels, meals and car travel. We hope to pair single people together in hotel rooms but if you don’t mind the additional cost you can have your own private room for the duration of the trip. With each spot being filled on a first-come, first-served basis, you might be out of luck if you wait too long!
This trip is not for the timid or physically challenged. We will be traveling down into the canyons beneath these bridges on dirt roads that will be bumpy, dusty and uncomfortable. There will be short but occasionally strenuous hikes down paths to reach spectacular viewpoints. At the end of the day you will be sweaty, dirty and wanting nothing more than a hot meal, a hot shower and a cool hotel room to sleep in.
Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have at Eric@HighestBridges.com. The price of this 3-week trip is 4,950 dollars which is an incredible bargain, so don't be shy about contacting me. This trip can only happen if at least 4 people sign up!