Yongxin Yizu Xiang, Yunnan, China
722 feet high / 220 meters high
722 foot span / 220 meter span
The ninth highest concrete beam bridge in China and one of the highest reservoir bridges in the world, Mangjiedu was constructed to cross the massive man-made lake that formed behind Xiaowan, the 2nd highest concrete dam in the world after the Jinping Dam. The spectacular 958 foot (292 mtr) high double curvature structure created a body of water some 820 feet (250 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.
Located about 30 miles (48 kms) from the dam, the Mangjiedu bridge opened in early 2009 high above the river with 551 foot (168 meter) tall piers rising high over the Mekong. By late 2009 the partially completed Xiaowan Dam had already submerged half of the bridge under water. Just two lanes wide, the narrow 722 foot (220 meter) main span of the continuous rigid-frame bridge seems even higher than it is, precariously balanced on the fourth highest set of bridge piers in all of China. The country is home to 9 of the world’s 10 highest reservoir bridges.
The Mangjiedu bridge is one of 4 massive continuous rigid-frame bridges that opened in Western China’s Yunnan province between 2003 and 2009. Three of the bridges are similar in height while only the Honghe bridge carries 4 lanes of traffic.
A visit to the Mangjiedu bridge requires no less than 3 days round trip from Yunnan’s capital city of Kunming. First you will need to take a bus, train or plane west from Kunming to the popular tourist city of Xiaguan. The next day you will want to get an early start and hire a driver who will then go south to Nanjian and then west to Dengtu. Expect an adventurous day filled with crazy driving and rough roads.
Image by www.nipic.com
A late 2009 view showing the bridge half submerged.
Image by www.yunnan.cn
Image by www.glkky.com
Image by Byszq921010.
The drawings above and below show how the Mekong River will rise approximately 150 feet (46 mtrs) from the reservoir created by the monstrous Xiaowan Dam.
Xiaowan became the tallest concrete dam in the world when it was completed in 2010.
Map of Mekong River dams.