The Yangtze River, the world’s third-longest, is one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. It has fed the people along its banks for thousands of years. And today, the mega engineering projects of its bridges have connected cities and paved the way for modern development.
A group of 10 expats from nine countries, including Russia, South Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, took part in the latest Go Jiangsu trip to step onto four of the Yangtze River bridges in East China’s Jiangsu province on Sept 22 and 23.
At the Sutong Yangtze River Bridge Exhibition Hall in Changshu, the expats heard the challenges and hardships of the bridge constructors and learned that the bridge connecting Suzhou and Nantong in Jiangsu had a far-reaching economic impact on the affluent region.
On June 30, 2008, the Sutong Yangtze River Bridge opened to traffic. The cable-stayed bridge spans 1,088 meters and integrates Nantong into a one-hour “traffic loop” with Shanghai. It boasts the world’s two tallest bridge towers at 300.4 m, about the same as a 100-story building. The towers sit on the world’s largest pier base, which is about the size of a football pitch and is anchored 80 m into the riverbed.
Nizar Alkayem from Syria is currently a postdoctoral researcher majoring in civil structure health monitoring at Hohai University in Nanjing. Talking about the Sutong Yangtze River Bridge, he said that “This bridge is an amazing structure. It is a very challenging engineering project, and the Chinese people should be proud of it.” “The trip is very meaningful to me”, he said and “The idea of the Go Jiangsu organization is to connect people, same as we come here to check the bridge which also connects people.”
The Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Yangtze River Bridge opened to traffic in July, 2020, stretching 11,072 meters with a single span of 1,092 meters. It is the world’s first such structure with a single span of more than 1,000 meters that can accommodate both cars and trains. The group admired the gorgeous night view of the bridge in Zhangjiagang on Sept 22.
The expats also visited the Jiangyin Yangtze River Bridge, a dual three-lane, 1385-m-span suspension bridge in Wuxi on Sept 23.
Kristina Makljenovic from Suzhou University got the chance to step on a tower of the bridge and shared her impressions: “It’s windy 132-meter above but I feel calm, and it makes me think of the San Francisco Bridge. It’s very different from the traditional bridges I saw in Suzhou, such as the Baodai Bridge”. Marveling at the fascinating stories of bridge constructors, she said that “How Chinese people can build bridges like this give other people some really cool impressions! Hopefully we’ll also learn from them and try to do something very similar but better”.
As the first high-speed railway suspension bridge in the world, the Wufengshan Yangtze River Bridge is China’s first bridge of its kind with a span of more than 1,000 m. At the Wufengshan Bridge Office on Sept 23, expats got to know more about the world’s first high-speed rail suspension bridge, and how it helps to build Jiangsu’s first future smart highway.
As the two-day trip ended at the Yangzhou Guangling Expressway Area, Aamir Khan from Pakistan shared his impression of the bridges: “They connected two cities. The people got a lot of benefits from them as well as the Chinese economy was built very well.”
The “Go Jiangsu” series of trips are organized by China Daily and the Information Office of the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government to promote the province to an international audience. A total of 19 events have been held since 2018.