Tiesuo Bridge

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Tiesuo Bridge
铁锁桥
Hefeng, Hubei, China
335 feet high / 102 meters high
115 foot span / 35 meter span
1704, 1970, 2018

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Historically, the Tiesuo Bridge might be the most important high bridge in all of China. Originally built around 1704 AD as a chain bridge during the Wanli era, it was the first bridge in the world to exceed the Ponte Delle Torri in Spoleto, Italy at 85 meters in height. Tiesuo remained the world's highest bridge for almost a century until 1793 when the Puente Nueveo Bridge was completed in Ronda, Spain. Wrapping itself around the small peaks that line the Loushui River, the ancient route was one of the only northern access points into the city of Hefeng in Hubei Province.

Although it was probably rebuilt several times since the 1700s, the first recorded rebuild of the chain bridge was in 1895. This may have also been the first time that steel was used in the chains. Then in 1970, the chain bridge was replaced with a 28 meter span stone arch that is 4.5 meters wide and was situated approximately 7 meters above the chain bridge crossing. Finally in 2018 a larger and wider concrete arch was built 10 meters above the 1970 span and exactly 100 meters above the reservoir water. The local road was also widened to handle two lanes of traffic and a visitors center and restaurant are now part of a new tourist area with parking.

A small dam was built about 300 meters downstream of the bridge allowing guests to hike down to the bottom of the gorge and float on a reservoir of crystal clear water 2 meters deep.

The bridge is located 10 kilometers northeast of Hefeng on county road 26.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The 92 meter high 1970-built arch before it was bypassed by the larger 2018 arch 10 meters above it.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A small dam was built 300 meters downstream of the bridge crossing. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The reservoir water is extremely clear making guests appear to magically float above the creek.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The creek empties into the much larger Lishui River. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Remains of the Tiesuo chain bridge connection are approximately 7 meters below the arch bridge.


TiesuoArchSide.jpg


TiesuoGorge.jpg


TiesuoArch.jpg


TiesuoView.jpg

The Tiesuo Bridge crosses a tributary of the Loushui River and is hidden out of view in the center of this image.


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Tiesuo Bridge satellite image.


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Tiesuo Bridge location map.


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