Advancements made in the field of civil engineering are leading to far more possibilities than ever thought possible for structural projects. Civil engineers across the globe have recently applied their design skills and knowledge to building the longest bridges the world has ever known. Each of these bridges is entirely unique, and each one helped to redefine what is possible with modern bridge design.
Danyang–Kunshan Grand, China
Located in China, the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge is the longest bridge in the world. Connecting the areas of Nanjing and Shanghai, this bridge operates by carrying trains between the two locations and is part of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway.
The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge was no easy feat, as it required the work of 10,000 contractors over the course of four years to be completed before opening to the public. The bridge cost $8.5 million and has since been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest bridge. The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge is 102.4 miles long and stands at 100 feet above the ground. The bridge was built to be highly durable and can withstand earthquakes, typhoons, and other types of natural disasters.
The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge was constructed over lowland rice paddies, lakes, rivers, and canals. Work on the bridge started in 2006 after final designs had been carefully completed. The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge had its grand opening on June of 2016 when it was used for its first public transport.
Opening for service in January of 2007, the Changua-Kaohsiung Grand Bridge is the second longest bridge in the world and spans 97.8 miles long. It was built to be part of Taiwan’s high-speed rail system and by 2012 it had served more than 200 million passengers.
Weinen Weihe, China
The Weiner Weihe Grand Bridge serves the public as part of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway. It was finished in 2010 before opening to the public in 2011 and is 49.5 miles long. It was the longest bridge in the world at the time of its opening, but has since been surpassed in length by the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge and the Changua-Kaohsiung Grand Bridge.
Evergeen Point Bridge in Seattle, Washington
At 1.4 miles long, the Evergreen Point Bridge (also known as the SR 520 bridge) is the longest floating bridge in the world. It was built over Lake Washington as a way for vehicles to travel back and forth between Seattle and Bellevue, Washington. The bridge is supported by 33 pontoons that are secured by 62 anchors. The bridge was built as a floating bridge, since a suspension bridge would not have been a practical design choice due to the curved route and significant depths of the lake.
Work is currently underway to replace the Evergeen Point Bridge, which was built in the early 1960s, with a longer and larger floating bridge based on a more modern design.
Russky Island Bridge in Russia
Built to be the longest cable-stayed suspension bridge in the world at 10,200 feet, the Russky Island Bridge in Russia connects the city of Vladivostok with Russky Island. The bridge opened in July of 2012. The bridge was built with steel and concrete to withstand the area’s harsh climate, which is often between -30 and +30 centigrade, in addition to storm winds and layers of ice buildup during the winter.
The World’s Longest Glass Bridge
Built above the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China and designed by the Isreali architect Haim Dotan, the world’s longest and highest glass-bottom bridge opened to the public in August of 2017. It connects between two cliffs located in the Zhangjiajie Park in the Hunan province of central China. It is 430 meters long, 6 meters wide, and stands above the ground at 300 meters. The floor of the bridge contains 99 panels of three-layered transparent glass, which visitors can walk over and look through to get an impressive view of the local forest.
In addition to hosting walking visitors, the bridge also offers bungee jumping and zip lining for its more adventurous guests. The cost of touring the bridge is $20 (or the price of 138 Yuan in China) and tickets must be booked a day in advance. Only 8,000 visitors each day are allowed to cross the bridge. For safety purposes, stiletto heels are not permitted while crossing the bridge. Cameras and selfie sticks are also not allowed.
While the Zhangjiajie Bridge is the longest and highest glass bridge in China, it is certainly not the only one. Glass bridges are very popular in China and have been used for hosting weddings and other types of events. The Zhangjiajie Bridge is so popular, in fact that it had to close after just two weeks due to too many visitors. It has since reopened with a monitoring system to keep track of visitors and a shuttle bus service to bring people to and from the bridge.
Forming bridges with civil engineering
Whether it is a bridge or other type of structure, new advancements are being made in the field of civil engineering every year. Bridges are just one example of how a civil engineering projects can improve and enrich the lives of the surrounding population while conserving the natural environment.
Civil engineers play a crucial role in engineering the structural solutions of tomorrow and plan, design, construct, and operate the infrastructure essential to our modern lives. As a student in the online Master of Science in Civil Engineering program, you can enhance your quantitative decision-making skills and learn how to justify managerial decisions with data.
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