World’s Longest | Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge

  • The Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge is 164.8 km (over 100 miles) in length
  • Despite challenging terrain, canals, lakes and many other obstacles, the bridge was built within the original four-year time scale
  • At a cost of $8.5 billion that is $51 million for each mile of the Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge
  • The structure was designed to withstand typhoons and magnitude 8 earthquakes as well as a direct hit from a 300,000 ton naval vessel

It is safe to say that the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge is a marvel of modern day bridge engineering. It is 164.8 km (more than 100 miles) in length and has literally taken bridge building to a whole new level. Even though it may have lost its title as the world’s longest sea crossing bridge, to the recently built Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, it is still a world beater. So, what else do we know about the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge?

Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge

What is the purpose of this bridge?

Many people may be surprised to learn that the Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge is actually part of the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway. Previously, it took 4 ½ hours to travel from Ningbo to Jiaxing via public transport but that this has been slashed to just two hours as a consequence of the Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge. Ironically, the structure has also taken on a life of its own and become something of a tourist attraction for the region.

How tall is the Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge?

The bridge is around 100 feet from the ground with a span of 260 feet and, as we touched on above, a length of 164.8 km (over 100 miles!). This is a phenomenal feat by any stretch of the imagination and has been a game changer for the region. Official figures show that around 5.6 miles of the bridge stretch over Yangcheng Lake with 2000 pillars and steel cables used to support the structure over the water. We can only imagine the number of barges and boats used to transport material to the bridge never mind the equipment needed to drill foundations for the 2000 pillars.

Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge curvature

It would have been difficult enough to build a straight road of over 100 miles in length so you can imagine the curvature of the Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge. The journey of the bridge takes in canals, rivers, lowland rice paddies, lakes and uneven terrain as well as major towns and cities. It is difficult to understand how engineers were able to design such a phenomenon which undulates to such a degree.

Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge facts

We will now take a look at some of the basic facts regarding the Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge, many of which will astound you. Did you know that:-

  • The bridge cost a staggering $8.5 billion to build which works out at around $51 million per kilometre
  • Construction teams stuck rigidly to the four-year time scale and it was finished in November 2010 but wasn’t officially opened until June 2011
  • A workforce of 10,000 people was needed to construct the Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge
  • The Yangcheng lake section is built on 2000 pillars and takes in 450,000 tonnes of steel with the rest of the bridge supported by 9500 concrete pilings
  • The structure is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and a direct hit from naval vessels which can weigh up to 300,000 tonnes
  • A subsection of the bridge, known as the Langfang-Qingxian viaduct, is 114 km in length which makes it the second longest bridge in the world

It really is difficult to appreciate the size of this project, the length of the bridge and the terrain which brought many challenges for the construction teams. The fact that the bridge also has a sizeable section over water is something else that can be difficult to get your head around.

Danyang-Kunshan Bridge

Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge designer

Despite the fact that this bridge is the longest in the world it is not easy to find out who designed it. However, after much investigating we now know that the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company, was behind the project. This is a Chinese government funded company which was originally part of the Foreign Aid Office of the Ministry of Communications of China. This is a company which leads major civil engineering projects in China including highways, railways, bridges, ports and tunnels.

Conclusion

It is difficult to comprehend the existence, never mind the building, of a bridge which spans more than 100 miles in length. The Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge is so long that a subsection is officially recognised as the second longest bridge in the world! China has a reputation for ambitious engineering projects and, perhaps more importantly, delivering them on time. The project only took four years to complete once construction began and has become a tourist attraction in its own right!

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