Lancanjiang River Pipeline Bridge


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Lancanjiang River Pipeline Bridge
Shanyangxiang,Yunnan, China
(1,001) feet high / (305) meters high
(1,312) foot span / (400) meter span

The second highest pipeline span in the world, the Lancanjiang River Pipeline Bridge is the highest of 3 parallel crossings at one of the narrowest points of the Lancanjiang River east of the city of Baoshan. The nearby railway bridge was also completed in 2013 and is one of the highest railway crossings on earth.

The pipeline span crosses the upper reaches of a reservoir that was formed behind Xiaowan, the 2nd highest concrete dam in the world. The spectacular 958 foot (292 mtr) high double curvature structure holds back a body of water some 787 feet (240 meters) deep along the Mekong (Lancang Jiang), a river with several of the largest and highest hydroelectric dams in the world including the Manwan, Dachaoshan, Nuozhadu and Jinghong. The Mekong River is the only international river in Asia linking 6 countries. The river has more species of fish than any other waterway on earth except for the Amazon. The full reservoir is 164 feet (50 meters) deep beneath the new pipeline bridge. But even under a full lake, the pipeline bridge will still be approximately 250 meters from deck to water surface - far higher then any other pipeline span outside of Papua New Guinea's Hegigio Gorge Bridge.

Of course the most impressive of the 3 spans is the spectacular steel railway arch with a soaring span of 342 meters. The two steel truss arch halves were built vertically on either side of the canyon slopes on top of scaffolding. While still in a vertical position, the two halves were then rotated at the arch springing and then lowered down over the gorge where they were connected at the crown.

Lancanjiang Railway Bridge construction site. The two halves of the arch are beginning to rise vertically along either slope.

An early construction view of the arch before the arch foundation was complete. The suspension pipeline bridge has yet to be constructed.

The lower, temporary suspension bridge built for access to either side of the gorge during construction of the railway arch. The Xiowan Dam reservoir has not reached the bridge site.

The massive Xiaowan Dam that is now the second highest concrete dam on earth after the under construction Jinping Dam.

Xiaowan Dam during the final stages of construction.

The completed dam with nearly a full reservoir behind it. The water depth is approximately 787 feet (240 meters) just behind the dam.

The water level has not yet reached the full pool height of 1,225 meters though the water can be allowed to go as high as 1,240 meters during floods.

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