Liuguanghe Bridge

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Liuguanghe Bridge
六广河大桥
Liu Guangzhen, Guizhou, China
975 feet high / 297 meters high
787 foot span / 240 meter span
2001
World's Highest Bridge 2001-2003


Liuguanghe entered the record books in 2001 when it became the world’s highest bridge at 975 feet (297 mtrs), toppling the 72 year old record long held by Colorado’s 955 foot (291 mtr) high Royal Gorge bridge. Even though Liuguanghe’s record would stand for just two years, it will always have the distinction of being the only beam bridge in history that held the top spot among high bridges. The decision not to use an arch, suspension or cable stayed bridge was probably motivated by the deep height of the gorge where the tall piers of a prestressed concrete beam bridge would be easier to construct since the two sides of the bridge could be cantilevered outward without any temporary cable stays or highlines.

The Liuguanghe bridge is the crown jewel in a highway that is best described as a museum of high Chinese bridges. Located near the city of Guiyang in China’s Western province of Guizhou, this 100 mile (161 km) stretch of 2-lane highway contains 2 suspension bridges, one 650 feet (198 mtr) and one 550 feet (168 mtr) high as well as another concrete beam bridge 600 feet (183 mtr) high and two arches, 380 (116 mtr) and 360 feet (110 mtrs) high. Outside of China, there is no other 100 mile (161 km) stretch of highway on earth to have so many high bridges. Although Liuguanghe is named after a nearby town, the bridge actually crosses the upper end of the Wujiang river, a large tributary of the Yangtze that has 5 of China’s highest bridges including the upcoming Dimuhe suspension bridge, the Liuchonghe cable stayed bridge, the massive concrete beam bridge viaduct at the city of Wujiang as well as the breathtaking Jiangjiehe arch bridge. Only the Beipanjiang River has a more spectacular group of high river crossings in China.

The scale of the Liuguanghe bridge is not always evident from photographs until you realize that the main span of the bridge is 787 feet (240 mtrs) between piers - longer than any beam bridge span that has ever been built in the United States. The pier on the west side of the bridge is the tallest point of the structure standing 295 feet (90 meters) in height. Resting on top of the two piers is a single-cell box girder with a height of 44 feet (13.4 mtrs) over the piers and 13 1/2 feet (4.1 mtrs) at mid-span. On the northwest end of the bridge there is a temporary pullout along the shoulder to park. From there you can walk across the bridge and peer into the void over the 4 foot (1.5 mtr) high concrete barrier.

The beautiful location spawned a food vendor village on the Southeast side of the span sometime after 2008. This probably occurred around the same time period the toll booths were removed making the highway "free" to all motorists. This has increased traffic on the highway along with China's explosion of car ownership. The resulting congestion has made travel along the 2-lane highway a risky and dangerous adventure. Much of this is due to the slow trucks that stack up as they creep along the steeper grades with endless turns that create blind spots. With no passing lane and no breakdown lanes, drivers have no choice but to pull into the oncoming lane to pass. This has created a deadly cocktail with head-on collisions occurring on a weekly basis. Until the Guizhou Provincial leaders decide to widen the road into a 4-lane divided highway, the Gui-bi will continue to decline into a treacherous and unreliable route. China's newer 4-lane highways are all beautifully designed and very safe to drive on. The Gui-bi shows that China's highway planners should continue their more recent pattern of constructing new highways as 4-lane routes with 2 extra safety lanes.



Liuguanghe Bridge Elevation


六广河大桥在2001年就进入了历史记录史册,即当它的高度297米成为世界第一高度桥梁之时,成功刷新了科罗拉多州290米高的皇家峡谷大桥的尘封了72年之久的世界纪录。尽管六广河大桥的世界纪录仅仅保持了2年时间,它仍然是保留着一个唯一曾作为世界第一高度的梁桥的纪录。没有使用拱桥或者悬索桥来跨越峡谷的决定,很可能是考虑到峡谷的深度,更适宜建造高墩的预应力连续梁桥,因为大桥两端能够采用无支架的悬臂施工方法。

六广河大桥可以被誉为“中国高桥博物馆”的公路线上的一颗皇冠上的明珠。位于中国西部省份贵州的省会贵阳市附近,这条100英里161公里长的2车道干线公路上,架设有2座悬索桥,其中一座198米高,另一座183米高,此外,还有一座183米高的混凝土梁桥和两座分别高达116米、110米高的混凝土拱桥。在中国之外,地球上在没有一个国家能够在100英里(161公里)长的公路线上有如此之多的高耸桥梁。尽管六广河是以其附近的小镇六广命名的,这座桥其实是跨越乌江流域上游的一座桥,至于乌江,则是长江的干流之一,其上建有中国三座最高的桥梁,包括乌江市附近的雄伟的混凝土梁桥乌江大桥、令人惊讶到屏住呼吸的江界河拱桥。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。

六广河大桥的规模不一定是从照片上可以完全看的显现完整的,除非你能够意识到该桥的跨度还有787英尺240米,这笔美国境内建造的任何一座梁桥的跨度都要大。大桥西侧的一个桥墩是整座桥最高的一个墩,90米高。在两个最高的墩柱之上,架设着单箱室的箱梁,墩顶截面高13.4米,跨中截面高4.1米。大桥的西北侧,设有一个在路肩带上的临时停车点,你可以从那里穿过大桥,站在1.5米高的混凝土护栏边上欣赏桥下空空然的峡谷。


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com




Liuguanghe became the first bridge in 72 years to surpass the Royal Gorge bridge in height.


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A map of the highest bridges along the 100 mile (161 km) Bijie Highway. It is one of the 5 greatest "high" bridge highways on earth. Map by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com



Truss-arch bridge downstream of Liuguanghe. 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 view looking west up the river gorge is absolutely spectacular. The curving road in the distance leads to a hydroelectric dam. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A sign post with the name of the bridge carved into it. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


An underground grave rests along a road beneath the bridge. 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


Sometime after 2008, a large encampment of food vendors sprung up on the Southeast side of the bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Some food vendor trash is burned next to the bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A collection of trash builds next to the stairs that lead down to the old bridge construction road. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


The Liuguanghe Bridge can just barely be seen in this view taken from the downstream arch bridge.


A satellite view of the Liuguanghe Bridge area taken sometime around 2000 when the highway was still under construction.


Satellite image showing the Liuguanghe Bridge in the lower left and the downstream arch crossing in the upper right.

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