On Thursday, June 30, China opened their Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, which links China’s eastern port city of Qindao to Huangdao Island. Although the country’s Danyang – Kunshan Bridge, which spans the Beijing-Shanghai rail route, is the longest in the world at 102 miles long, Guiness World Records has officially named the new bridge the longest bridge over water at 26.4 miles long.
China’s CCTV network reported that the bridge cost more than 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) to construct, but reports from other sources have varied. The Xinhua news agency placed the cost at $2.3 billion and the UK Telegraph newspaper reported it to be $8.8 billion. Some additional cost may have come from the fact that it is designed to withstand natural disasters; Guiness said, “The earthquake- and typhoon-proof bridge … is designed to withstand the impact of a 300,000-ton vessel.”
The beast of a bridge – which is estimated to see more than 30,000 cars a day – is supported by over 5,000 pillars and has an associated underwater tunnel, which also opened to traffic on Thursday. According to MSNBC, the tunnel took more than four years to build and is said to shorten the journey between Qingdao and Huangdao by approximately 18 miles, cutting travel time in half from 40 minutes to only 20 minutes.
About 450,000 tons of steel and 81 million cubic feet of concrete were used in the construction of the behemoth and it took at least 10,000 workers to rotate in two teams around the clock to complete it. One Chinese commuter commented, “I’m so happy the bridge is finished. The old road between Qingdao and Huangdao is so crowded and now my journey will be much easier. We are a tourist city with beautiful beaches, so it is important we have good transport links.”