Jinshajiang Railway Bridge Hutiaoxia

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Jinshajiang Railway Bridge Hutiaoxia
Hutiaoxiazhen, Yunnan, China
820 feet high / 250 meters high
2,165 foot span / 660 meter span

The design for the Tiger Leaping Gorge Railway Bridge crossing was studied for many years before the engineers finally decided to go with a 660 meter span truss stiffened suspension bridge that ranks among the 10 longest span railway bridges in the world. Located just a kilometer downstream of the equally impressive expressway suspension bridge, these two sister spans will surely become the most iconic bridge structures in Yunnan Province and a favorite of the millions of photo and video hungry tourists passing under the spans as they travel along the main road leading into the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge scenic spot. The new railway line will allow a fast travel time of around one hour between the tourist cities of Lijiang and Shangri-La.

Prior to the suspension bridge scheme, engineers had planned a more conventional steel arch structure with a main span of 416 meters that would have ranked among the longest railway arch spans in the world. A cantilever truss arch with a span of 384 meters was also designed for the site.

Since both Jinshajiang Hutiaoxia bridges were designed to allow reservoir water over 200 meters deep to fill beneath them, the engineers might have felt a cleaner, single span leap across the lake would look nicer and avoid issues related to having large sections of the bridge structure under water.

Environmental groups and tourism businesses in the region are fighting the planners of the Tiger Leaping Gorge Dam to preserve the natural state of the river and the gorge and with so many tourists vital to the economies of both Lijiang and Shangri-La, there is a good chance it will never be built.

The tallest tower of the Jinshajiang Railway Bridge Hutiaoxia is reported to be 194 meters tall with at least 120 meters of that total for the pier below the bottom level of the truss. This gives the bridge a signature look of being supported on stilts but also reduced the length of the main span. The second tower is 155 meters tall supporting a total span configuration of 132+660+132 meters. The truss depth is unknown but will probably be at least 12 meters ranking 3rd in the world after the Wufengshan Yangtze River Bridge and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan.

Click on the excellent YouTube channel "Chinese Bridge" to see a video of the Jinshajiang Hutiaoxia Railway Bridge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXq10ycxPMk

A view of the Jinshajiang Railway Bridge Hutiaoxia if the reservoir ever forms beneath the crossing.

The main parking area for tour buses headed into the Tiger Leaping Gorge. The mountains in the background rise almost 4,000 meters from the river to the highest peaks. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

A view looking south where the large expressway and railway suspension bridges will cross more then 200 meters above the gorge when they are completed by the year 2020. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

A narrow, less accessible trail traverses the east side of the river canyon with few tourists. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

The giant viewing platform overlooking the famous Tiger Leaping rock has been exapnded to handle much bigger crowds. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

Image by Peter Wu.

Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

The giant rock made famous by the tale of a Tiger Leaping across the river. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

There are glass panels on the edge of the viewing platform. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

Wealthier tourists can pay to have themselves carried up and down the steps. Image by John Filmer.

Image by John Filmer.

Jinshajiang Railway Bridge Hutiaoxia satellite image.

The left Jinshajiang Hutiaoxia crossing is the expressway bridge and the right crossing is the railway bridge.

Jinshajiang Railway Bridge Hutiaoxia location map.

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