Jinshajiang Bridge Jin'an
Jinshajiang Bridge Jin'an
Jin'an, Yunnan, China
1,512 feet high / 461 meters high
4,547 foot span / 1,386 meter span
The upper reaches of China’s famous Yangtze River are known as the Jinshajiang and flow for more then 2,200 kilometers from their source high in the mountains of Qinghai and Tibet. As the third longest river in the world, the 6,300 long kilometer Yangtze has become the most important waterway in China economically and culturally with one third of the country’s population living within its drainage basin.
The 1957 opening of the great road and railway bridge in Wuhan marked the beginning of large-scale bridge construction across the Yangtze River. The growth of cities along the Yangtze really began to kick into high gear in the 1990s causing an infrastructure boom that necessitated the construction of dozens of long span bridges that have broken numerous records for span length in all the major bridge categories including beam, arch and cable stayed.
But if all of these great Yangtze crossings were celebrated for their ability to span long distances, few of these bridges were known for their height with only a few spans surpassing the 200 meter height barrier due to the deep waters along the lower end of the 3 Gorges reservoir.
In 2021 that will all change when the Jinshajiang Bridge Jin'an opens along the west end of the Huali expressway connecting Panzhihua to the tourist city of Lijiang. With a height of 461 meters this high level crossing will not only become the highest bridge to ever cross Asia’s largest river but will also become the longest span high level bridge in the world with a tower to tower distance of 1,386 meters or 4,547 feet. This will also become the first high level bridge in China to surpass any bridge span in the Americas including the Verrazano and Golden Gate Bridges. Upon its completion the Jin'an Bridge will rank among the top 15 longest suspension bridge spans in the world.
The Jin'an crossing will be partially hidden beneath the deep waters of the reservoir that formed behind the Jin'an Dam. The bridge deck will have a clear drop of 342 meters when the reservoir is full and 461 meters to the now hidden level of the original Jinsha River surface.
The basic design of Jinshajiang Jin'an is very similar to the previous jumbo-sized truss stiffened spans over the Qingshui and Baling Rivers in Guizhou with towers as tall as 192 meters supporting a deep, 27 meter wide steel truss. Jin'an's road deck span configuration will be 6x41m +1386m +41m with the two side cable spans measuring 320 and 205 meters.
The Huali expressway will begin a long rise west out of the Jinsha River gorge from a bridge deck elevation of 1,760 meters towards Lijiang city's elevation of 2,400 meters, gaining elevation largely by punching in and out of several long tunnels. Lijiang is one of the most popular tourist cities in Yunnan Province as well as a gateway to both the Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shangri-La scenic spots. A previous plan for the Huali expressway would have taken travelers across an even higher bridge about 20 kilometers to the south near the village of Taku. If you would like to see more about this scrapped bridge design then click on the following link. Jinshajiang Bridge Taku
China began this extraordinary output of spectacularly high, long span suspension bridges in 2009 with the opening of the Siduhe, Balinghe and Beipanjiang Hukun Bridges. That was followed by the Aizhai Bridge, Lishuihe Bridge, Longjiang Bridge and Qingshuihe Bridge. This trend will continue beyond 2020 with the opening of the Dahe, Daduhe Xingkang and Chishuihe Chajiaotan Bridges.
Jinshajiang Bridge Jin'an Elevation
The Jin'an Dam created a lake approximately 120 meters deep at the bridge crossing.
View of the Jinshajiang River just south of the Jin'an Dam.
Jinshajiang Bridge Jin'an satellite image. The left half of the image shows the original Jinsha River level while the right half of the image shows the canyon after the deep lake has formed behind the dam.
Jinshajiang Bridge Jin'an location map.