Jiaozhou Bay or Qingdao Haiwan Bridge – The world’s longest bridge over water

Jiaozhou Bay Bridge or Qingdao Haiwan Bridge is a 26.7 km (16.6 mi) long roadway bridge in eastern China’s Shandong province, which is part of the 41.58 km (25.84 mi) Jiaozhou Bay Connection Project. As of December 2012, Guinness World Records lists the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge as the world’s “longest bridge over water (aggregate length)” at 41.58 km (25.84 mi).

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The bridge was the idea of a local official in the Chinese Communist Party who since has been dismissed for corruption. It was designed by the Shandong Gaosu Group. It took four years to build, and employed at least 10,000 people. It opened on 30 June 2011 for traffic.

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On the same day the bridge opened, the Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay tunnel opened. It transects Jiaozhou Bay, also connecting Huangdao District and the city of Qingdao, between the narrow mouth of the bay which is 6.17 km (3.83 mi) wide. The tunnel travels underground for 5.55 km (3.45 mi).

Concerns regarding the bridge’s safety were raised when Chinese media reported that the bridge was opened with faulty elements, such as incomplete crash-barriers, missing lighting and loose nuts on guard-rails, with workers stating that it would take two months before finishing all of the projects related to the bridge. Shao Xinpeng, the bridge’s chief engineer, claimed that in spite of the safety report the bridge was safe and ready for traffic, adding that the problems highlighted in the reports were not major.

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The bridge was reported by the official state-run television company CCTV to cost CN¥10 billion (US$1.5 billion, GB£900 million). Other sources reported costs as high as CN¥55 billion (US$8.8 billion, GB£5.5 billion).

The bridge has few users and has been described as China’s “bridge to nowhere”. Built for a projected 30,000 vehicles a day, a year after opening it is only carrying 10,000.

The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge transects Jiaozhou Bay reducing the road distance between Qingdao and Huangdao by 30 km (19 mi) compared to the expressway along the coast of the bay. The design of the bridge is T-shaped with the main entry and exit points in Huangdao and the Licang District of Qingdao. A branch to Hongdao Island is connected by a semi-directional “T” interchange to the main span. The construction used 450,000 tons of steel and 2.3 million cubic metres (81×106 cu ft) of concrete. The bridge shall be able to withstand severe earthquakes, typhoons, and collisions with ships.It is supported by 5,238 concrete piles. The cross section consists of two beams in total 35 m (115 ft) wide carrying six lanes with two shoulders.

The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge has three navigable sections: the Cangkou Channel Bridge, the Dagu Channel Bridge and the Hongdao Channel Bridge. The 600 metres (2,000 ft) long Cangkou Channel Bridge has with 260 m (850 ft) the largest span of the entire Jiaozhou Bay Bridge. The Hongdao Channel Bridge has a span of 120 m (390 ft). The non-navigable sections of the bridge have a span of 60 m (200 ft).

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