China already has the world’s largest building – now the country has the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge as well.
Jiashao Bridge, which Chinese media are calling the world’s longest and widest multi-tower cable-stayed bridge, opened to traffic this morning at midnight. The bridge is an eight lane structure that spans 10.1 kilometres across Hangzhou Bay, connecting Jiaxing and Shaoxing, two cities of Zhejiang province. Bridge-crossers will be charged a toll of 40 yuan (HK$50) for the trip.
Excited fans eager to be the first to cross the bridge began queuing up three hours before its opening, Zhejiang News reported. Li Xinqiao, the first to cross the bridge, was a businessman travelling to Shanghai who had originally planned to set off in the afternoon. After discovering that Jiashao Bridge was opening to travellers at midnight, he decided to set off earlier so that he could see the bridge for himself.
Shanghai, which is located to the northeast of Jiaxing, would normally be a three hour trip for drivers coming from Shaoxing. Jiashao Bridge was estimated to cut this travel time down to one and a half hours, Zhejiang News reported.
Photos of Jiashao Bridge and Li Xinqiao appeared on Sina Weibo after the bridge’s opening. Many posters were quick to point out that it was an ironic coincidence that a man named “Xinqiao”, which can mean “new bridge” in Chinese, was the first to cross. Some also expressed interest in crossing the bridge and visiting Jiaxing and Shanghai more easily.
“[China] has the world’s longest and the world’s finest [bridge],” one poster wrote. “This makes me proud.”
Others argued that the bridge toll was too expensive and it would not cut travel time down significantly.
“The reports are too ridiculous,” one netizen said. “After Jiashao Bridge opens up and faces traffic, the amount of time it’ll take to get from Shaoxing to Shanghai will be cut short by only … 30 minutes at most… To say that the trip will be shortened to one and a half hours is misleading.”
View Jiaoshao Bridge, world's longest suspension bridge in a larger map
Construction of Jiashao Bridge began on 14 December 2008, after the nearby Hangzhou Bay Bridge became congested. Jiashao Bridge is expected to play a large role in promoting co-operation and competition in the region. China Daily reported that the bridge’s assembly demonstrated China’s “improvements with infrastructure construction”, especially considering the strong and dangerous sea tides of Hangzhou Bay.
China has built many cable-stayed bridges, which are usually measured and ranked by the distance between their suspension towers. Amongst these are the Jingyue Bridge and Sutong Bridge, which both cross the Yangtze River and measure about five and eight kilometres respectively.