We all know how investment driven the Chinese economy is. As a result, there are massive spending on building various infrastructure projects which no one will know for sure if they will pay off. For instance, the high speed rail is probably going to be a waste of money.
The economics of over-investing is one thing, but massive infrastructure investments over the past decade have produced some of the most impressive man-made structures. When you now look at the list of longest bridges in the world, China occupies most of the top positions. I will not judge if these bridges are good investments. But the sheer scales of the three projects below and the fact that they cross a super long distance over water are mind-boggling.
Qingdao Haiwan Bridge (Completed in 2010)
The bridge under construction (Check out the location at Google Maps)
This recently completed bridge is reported to be the longest bridge over water (42km), enough to cross the English Channel. The budgeted cost was 56bn Yuan. The bridge crosses Jiaozhou Bay, and connects the main urban area of Qingdao city with Huangdao district, cutting 30km of distance or 20 minutes of travel time. It will be an important connection between the city of Qingdao and the city of Jinan.
While some would celebrate the triumph of this project, not all people are equally enthusiastic. Some said it is a waste of taxpayers’ money in building such a bridge to save 20 minutes. Others went even further and questioned the route of the bridge. As you can see from the satellite image, the people who planned the project have chosen probably the longest possible route to cross the two sides. The image below shows that if the bridge is built as the red line is indicated, the distance between two sides will be reduced to a mere 4.5km.
Hangzhou Bay Bridge (Completed in 2007)
Can you see the thin thread on the image? (Check out the location at Google Maps)
That thin thread is actually a bridge. At the mouth of Yangtze River, the 35.6km Hangzhou Bay Bridge connects Jiaxing and Ningbo, thereby shortening the travel time between Shanghai and Ningbo significantly. The bridge was the longest sea-crossing bridge before the Qingdao Haiwan bridge was completed.
A closer look
A even closer look (Source: Wikimedia)
Donghai Bridge (completed in 2005)
Bridge to a small island in the middle of the sea? (Check out the location at Google Maps)
The 32.5km Donghai Bridge connects Shanghai with an island somewhere in the middle of the East China Sea. But why?
The Island it connects is the Yangshan Deep water port at the opening of the Yangtze river. It is said that because the port close to Shanghai does not have deep water for large container ships, so they chose to build a port somewhere in middle of the sea, and built a long bridge to connect Shanghai and the port. Before the Hangzhou Bay Bridge was built, it was the longest bridge over a sea.
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