The Yangtze River holds an extremely significant position in China, not merely for its reflection of Chinese culture, but also in forging its national character. Therefore, the very bridges across it also occupy an important position not only in the local city, but also in the whole country, and worldwide. Furan Cao (Frank), our visiting scholar at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, introduces ten Yangtze River bridges (five bridges in this article as Part I and other five in next one as Part II) in his hometown of Wuhan, which is not only the provincial capital of Hubei Province, but also one of the National Central Cities in China. The city of Wuhan is also known as “The Bridge City”!
- Wuhan Yangtze Grand Bridge
Figure 1. A night scene photo taken by Shoulong Cao (my father) via Nikon D750
Wuhan Yangtze Grand Bridge is the first bridge which connected shores and places of the Yangtze River. And it is also the very first bridge which is available for double tracks railway and highway after the birth of New China (also known as the birth of PRC). Once it had been opened to traffic and the public on 15 November 1957(started in Sept 1955), it has been immediately being the landmark of Wuhan. Additionally, when it comes to the date, the length of the whole bridge is 1670 meters, and its body is as long as 1156 meters. And the height between bridge for highway and the basement is 80 meters. What’s more, there are 8 bridge piers and 9 bridge openings in the whole bridge, and the span between each opening is 128 meters.
The Wuhan Yangtze Grand Bridge not only represents the wisdom and exquisite craftsmanship of the Chinese bridge constructors (got help from the Soviet Union at the early stage, then hosted by Yisheng Mao), but also has greatly accelerated the cultural exchange and communication among the people from different towns of Wuhan, as well as the economic development.
- Wuhan Second Yangtze Bridge
Just as the name implies, this is the very second Yangtze Bridge in Wuhan, and its name has been changed from Wuhan Yangtze Highway Bridge to what it is called now. Compared with the first Grand one, the construction style with nationality is replaced by spectacular shapes and elegant appearance in much more modern way. Specifically, the whole length of it is 4407.6 meters and the height of the main tower is 153.6 meters. And its capacity can hold 110 thousand cars (summit as 140 thousand ones) per day. The bridge was officially opened to the public in June 1995.
Thanks to this second bridge, the heavy pressure on the transportation happened amongst three towns in Wuhan has been reduced in significant measure. And additionally it has promoted whole economical and cultural communication not only for the whole city of Wuhan, but also for the cities and provinces surrounding Wuhan and Hubei Province.
- Wuhan Baishazhou Yangtze River Bridge
The Yangtze Bridge cost more than 150 million pounds to construct, and the cost has continued to increase due to repair and operation issues. The surface of the bridge is made of pure steel and the whole length is 3586.38 meters. And the main purpose of it is to lead cars from other cities and provinces so that the traffic pressure of the former two bridges can be reduced at 29%.
- Junshan Yangtze Bridge
Till now, the Junshan Yangtze Bridge (the fourth Yangtze Bridge of Wuhan surely) is the widest deep-water oversize highway bridge whose total investment was more than 1.2 billion pounds in China. It not merely looks gorgeous from outside, but the quality of its design and construction led to the bridge being honored with the fourth “Zhan Tianyou Prize” which stands for the highest honor when it comes to the Chinese civil engineering. What is more, it holds a significant geographic location in the whole transportation system of the city.
- Yangluo Yangtze Bridge
The most distinct characteristic of this bridge demonstrates vividly by its “Scissors Bridging” which is more novel and artistic, compared with the traditional ones. Furthermore, for the condition of the bridge to be observed continuously, the very bridge is guarded via a digital monitoring system. When it officially opened to the public on 26 Dec 2007, it led the city of Wuhan to be nicknamed “Bridge City”.