Jiangjiehe Construction Bridge

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Jiangjiehe Construction Bridge
Weng'an, Guizhou, China
(607) feet high / (185) meters high
(975) foot span / (297) meter span


The highest temporary road suspension bridge ever built, this one-lane crossing allowed trucks and personnel to easily get across the canyon during the construction of the giant Jiangjiehe concrete arch.

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






Image by Tongji University.


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 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


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.


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