Wednesday, June 27, 2007
NINGBO, Zhejiang Province -- Chinese engineers on Tuesday oversaw the connection of two sides of a 36-kilometer-long bridge, the world's longest sea crossing structure. Workers fixed the last steel beam to the bridge spanning Hangzhou Bay, near Shanghai, linking Haiyan of Jiaxing City to Cixi of Ningbo city in Zhejiang Province, east China.
The bridge will cut the length of the road trip from Shanghai to Ningbo by 120 km when it opens to traffic in August 2008. It is designed to last 100 years. The bridge, with a 32-km section spanning the sea, is a cable-stayed structure built at a cost of 11.8 billion yuan (1.42 billion U.S. dollars). Private investors funded almost 30 percent of the project, the first time China's private sector has invested in a major public infrastructure project in the country.
Construction of the six-lane bridge, which will have a speed limit of 100 km per hour, began in November 2003. Workers will finish the road paving by the end of the November.
The bridge was a key part of east China's freeway network and represented advanced technologies in bridge building, said Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan in a congratulatory letter. Wang Yong, head of the project, said the project led to more than 250 technological innovations and engineering breakthroughs. The project survived 17 challenges, including typhoons, sea tides and geological problems, during construction, said Wang