Jiangjiehe Bridge

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Jiangjiehe Bridge
江界河大桥
Weng'an, Guizhou, China
840 feet high / 256 meters high
1,083 foot span / 330 meter span
1995


Although it is no longer on the list of China’s 10 highest bridges, the 840 foot (256 mtr) high Jiangjiehe arch bridge was the highest bridge in the country and the highest concrete arch bridge in the world at the time of its opening in 1995. With a huge main span of 1,083 feet (330 meters), it is also among the world’s 5 longest concrete arch spans. Prior to 1995, the world’s highest concrete arch was the Bloukrans bridge in South Africa. The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial bridge in front of the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. is now the highest concrete arch bridge with a deck 890 feet (271 mtrs) above the Colorado River.

Located in Weng’an County, deep in the mountains of China’s Guizhou province, the Jiangjiehe arch bridge crosses the lower end of the Wujiang River, a large tributary of the Yangtze that has 3 of China’s highest bridges including the massive concrete beam bridge viaduct at the city of Wujiang and the Liuguanghe beam bridge northwest of Guiyang. The total Wujiang River high bridge count reaches 5 if you include the Wulingshan and Yanxigou bridges located on tributaries just off the “Big Wu”. Only the Beipanjiang River has a more spectacular group of high river crossings in China.

The current Jiangjiehe bridge is known as a concrete truss arch and was constructed using the cantilever method. This style of arch bridge has become very popular throughout China with its signature “N” shaped spandrel openings. Temperature related expansion and contraction of the road deck is allowed through a gap on either side of the center third of the bridge. As of 2008, China had more than 200 concrete arch bridges with spans in excess of 328 feet (100 mtrs).

With little traffic, ample parking and walkways on both sides of the bridge, the Jiangjiehe is one of the nicest, most relaxing bridge visits you can have in China. A fellow traveler of mine even felt comfortable enough to relieve himself off the side of the bridge - an act that might hold some kind of record of its own!

Sadly around 2009, the nearly completed 763 foot / 232.5 meter high Goupitan Dam began to create a massive reservoir that backed up beneath the Jiangjiehe Bridge, reducing the height to around 500 feet / 150 meters. The once raging Wujiang River is now a placid lake with none of the gorge-like feel of the pre-Goupitan years. We can only hope that the Chinese do not continue to build so many dams that the desire for cheap energy becomes more important then the natural beauty of what are arguably some of the world's greatest river canyons.



Jiangjiehe Bridge Elevation 1995-2009



Jiangjiehe Bridge Elevation 2009


尽管它已经接近于从中国前十高度大桥的榜单上退出,256米高的江界河大桥,曾在1995年开通之时亦是国内第一个高度桥梁和世界第一高度的混凝土拱桥。该桥仍然是世界前五高度的混凝土拱桥之一。在1995年之前,世界最高的混凝土拱桥是南非的博劳克兰斯大桥。美国内华达州,靠近拉斯维加斯的胡佛大坝前方的帕特·提尔曼-麦克·奥卡拉汉纪念大桥,坐落在科罗拉多河之上271米位置,是目前世界最高的混凝土拱桥。

坐落在中国贵州省瓮安县境内的深山之中的江界河大桥,是为了替代原先中国最高桥梁纪录保持者而建的,原先的最高纪录是在新建拱桥以西198米远处的高达198米的单车道悬索桥。尽管该桥叫做江界河大桥,其实它跨越的是乌江的下游流域河段,乌江是长江的一条重要的支流,其上建设有中国最高桥梁中的三座,包括乌江市的附近的乌江大桥、贵阳西北方向的六广河大桥两座巨大的混凝土梁高架桥。如果把位于乌江支流流域的干溪沟大桥和沿溪沟大桥也列于乌江水系的话,那么乌江上的高桥数量就达到了5座。在中国仅仅只有北盘江上拥有者更多的高桥数量。

现在的江界河大桥以其混凝土桁架拱结构闻名,采用的是平衡施工法。这种拱桥造型因其N型拱架结构而在中国十分流行。该桥在跨中两侧三分点位置均设缝,允许温度伸缩和混凝土桥面的缩胀。在2008年时,中国就有了超过200座跨径超过100米的混凝土拱桥了。

由于交通量很小的缘故,在桥上随意的停车和两侧人行道上行走都可以,江界河大桥绝对是你在中国能够旅游到的最佳、最惬意的大桥了。和我同游的伙伴在大桥之上十分的放松和享受——随意的一些举动都可能产生某种意义上的一个记录了!


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Jiangjiehe Bridge plaque. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Jiangjiehe bridge measurements. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


The mighty Wu River heads north to the Yangtze River. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


The current arch bridge was a replacement for a one lane suspension bridge. Or was it? Could the approximately 607 foot (185 meter) high suspension bridge have simply been a temporary structure to get men and materials to the other side during construction? I hope to find out the answer soon. Image by Tongji University.



The southern suspension bridge approach. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


The northern suspension bridge approach. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


The suspension span measured approximately 975 feet (297 mtrs) between the back walls of the deck abutments or 1,060 feet (323 mtrs) between the since removed center supports of the cable span. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com




I have spent many days traveling throughout western China with bridge engineer Shijie Du and driver Hong Chen. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by 露营者.


A view of the arch sometime around 2009 when a lake began to form beneath the bridge from the nearly completed Goupitan Dam. The water has not yet reached full height in this view.




Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tilman and Jiangjiehe Bridge size Comparison



Jiangjiehe and New River Gorge Bridge size Comparison



Jiangjiehe and Bloukrans Bridge size Comparison


Jiangjiehe Bridge satellite image before the reservoir formed behind the Goupitan Dam.

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