China opens world's longest sea bridge

26-mile Jiaozhou Bay crossing connects Qingdao to Huangdao, took four years to build and uses 5,000 pillars

China, which seems to complete mammoth infrastructure projects on a routine basis, has claimed another world-beater with the opening of the longest sea bridge.

The 26-mileJiaozhou Bay crossing connects the bustling port city of Qingdao, south-east of Beijing, to the industrial district of Huangdao.

The eight-lane, 35-metre-wide bridge opened to traffic on Thursday morning, China's Xinhua news agency said. Built over a four-year period the project cost about £1.4bn and uses 5,000 pillars. It shortens the driving route between the two locations by about 20 miles.

Somewhat inevitably, the bridge takes the world record from another Chinese sea crossing, the 22.5-mile Hangzhou Bay bridge, which opened in 2008, connecting the cities of Jiaxing and Ningbo, south of Shanghai. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, at almost 24 miles, is slightly longer but crosses an inland waterway rather than open sea.

China is constructing an even more ambitious bridge. Work began in December 2009 on a Y-shaped structure linking Guangdong province in southern China to Hong Kong and Macau. Building is expected to be finished in 2015, and the bridge is expected to cover about 31 miles, although only about 22 miles will span the sea.


Peter Walker

The GuardianTramp

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