2011 High Bridge Trip Photo Album

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2011 China High Bridge Trip Photo Album
Hubei and Chongqing Provinces


The following images were all taken during the "2011 High Over China Bridge Trip" that took place during the month of August in several Western China Provinces. Bridge fans Roger Perrin of Great Britain and Georges of France joined me on HighestBridges.com's first ever 3 week tour to experience 50 of the world's highest bridge spans that included walks across half of the world's 10 highest road bridges. The adventurous journey took us over more then 3,000 miles / 5,000 kilometers of roads and highways in Mr. Chen's Wuling mini-van.


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The special spans visited during the first week included Siduhe, Zhijinghe, Tieluoping, Longtanhe, Shuanghekou, Xiaohe and Caijiagou Bridges as well as a visit to Western China's most populous city of Chongqing where the world's longest span arch and beam bridges reside.


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Our first high bridge of the trip may have been "only" 80 meters from deck to creek but the location of Gangouzi Bridge above the Yangtze River Gorge made it one of the most beautiful and classical looking spans of the trip. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Georges of France frames up the view! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Just north of Yichang is the Xialaoxi Gorge Bridge. The creek empties into the Yangtze River just a couple of kilometers downstream of the bridge. This last stretch has become a popular tourist magnet with several suspension footbridges, cliff walks, boat tours and a bungy drop. We all enjoyed a dinner at the unique cliffside restaurant that is located inside of a cave! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Ian looks out from the lower beam bridge which serves the local road alongside the Yangtze River while the high bridge carries a 4-lane expressway to the 3 Gorges Dam. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Also in Yichang is the Gezhou Dam, the first one to be built across the lower Yangtze River. The 3 Gorges Dam is located approximately 40 kilometers upstream. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Yiling Bridge is the only crossing of the Yangtze River located directly across from the city of Yichang. At the time of its construction in 2001 Yiling was one of the world's longest 3-tower cable stayed bridges with two central spans of 346 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Georges took a long walk to get a perfect view of the bridge for his French Wikipedia bridge page. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The new Yichang Yangtze Railway Bridge has the 2 longest railway beam bridge spans in the world at 270 meters apiece albeit with the assistance of two tied arches. The new line continues on from Yichang to Wanzhou crossing 5 bridges more then 100 meters high. There is no other rail line in the world outside of China that has more then one bridge over 100 meters high! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Yichang Bridge was completed in 1998 and was one of the earliest long span suspension bridges to be built across the Yangtze River. There are now over a dozen suspension bridge crossings with more to come. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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One of the first of many stops at a Chinese Sinopec gas station. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Opened in 2009, the G50 is the world's greatest high bridge highway. This was the most impressive of several large Western-style rest stops. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The first super high bridge of the trip finally arrives on the G50 in the form of the 220 meter high Weijiazhou Bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Georges enjoys a smoke on the towering Weijiazhou Bridge while an officer captures the action on video. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Just 75 meters high, the Yuquanxi Bridge was our second stop along the parade of G50 bridges. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Houhe Bridge was another large beam bridge on the eastern end of the mountainous part of the G50. The bridge deck is 107 meters high. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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We had a beautiful day for taking photos of Longtanhe, the largest beam bridge viaduct in the world with 3 main spans of 200 meters and a pier 178 meters high. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view looking down the 178 meter tall super pier. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Georges snaps a view of Longtanhe from the main road. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The town of Langpingzhen more then 60 stories below. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Yexihe Railway Bridge just across the road from the Longtanhe Viaduct. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Another look at the map of the 3 week bridge journey that took us along 3,000 miles / 5,000 kilometers of road from Wuhan to Kunming. You can click in for a closer look. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Tieluoping Bridge is the next monster along the G50 with a main span of 322 meters and towers 190 meters tall. The deck is 209 meters above the creek. Image by Georges.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Transportation infrastructure fan Roger Perrin enjoys a stroll across the deck. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Georges of France decided to venture into the open tower entrance on the west end of the Tieluoping Bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Georges got some spectacular views from the tower top. Image by Georges.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Wanzhou Railway line parallels the G50 for over 100 kilometers at a lower elevation with many more miles of tunnels. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Just East of Tieluoping Bridge is Guankouya Bridge, another 100+ meter high beam span. Image by Georges.


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Traveling further east we encountered Shuanghekou, another huge beam bridge more then 200 meters high. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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After rising several hundred meters in elevation, the G50 finally leads travelers to Siduhe, the highest bridge on earth at 1,627 feet or 496 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Georges.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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I was finally able to confirm the bridge height with my laser rangefinder. Image by Roger Perrin.


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Baziling tunnel at the east end of Siduhe Bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A large rock monument is located on both ends of the bridge with an image of the famous rocket launch that pulled the first pilot line across the gorge in late 2006. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Georges.


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Roger, Georges and I made the scary but exhilarating walk on the world's highest catwalk nearly 1,600 feet / 490 meters above the Sidu River. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Ian, Roger and Mr. Chen enjoy a late afternoon view from the center of the span. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Mr. Chen threatens to make a BASE jump without a parachute! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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As our driver for the first half of the trip, Mr. Chen logged more then 1,000 miles behind the wheel of the Wu Ling mini-van. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Georges finally poses without a cigarette! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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This view will look very different in 2013 when a reservoir will fill up the lower 20% of the valley from the completion of a downstream dam. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Roger contemplates China's own version of the London Underground! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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In the very center of the image you can see the foliage that was cleared on the river slope where the new dam is under construction. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Georges.


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Located just after Siduhe, the giant Shuinan Viaduct crosses a section of valley 110 meters high before plunging into a tunnel. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Zhijinghe Bridge is the highest arch bridge in the world at 965 feet / 294 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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An access tunnel was dug to allow access to the bridge site from the east side. Once the bridge was completed the tunnel was plugged up. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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We all enjoyed lunch at restaurant run by a family that was surprised to see a bunch of foreigners and could not get enough photos of us with their cell phones. They also run a mobile phone store next to the restaurant. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Yesanhe Bridge along the G50 is one of 5 high spans that cross the Yesan River in a stretch of just a few kilometers. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A reservoir recently formed beneath the Yesanhe arch bridge reducing the height somewhat. Completed in 1977 the span was the highest in China for almost 2 decades. By the year 2020 it will not even be among China's 100 highest bridges! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The 1977 arch bridge was given a major rehab in 2009 that should keep it around for at least a few more decades. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Just downstream of the arch is an unusual pipeline bridge with hillside anchorages. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Just upstream of the arch is a new pipeline bridge with an amazing color scheme of red and blue! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Yesanhe Railway Bridge is one of several high railway bridges on the Wanzhou line that exceed 100 meters in height. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view from our hotel in Yesanguanzhen. Like so many Chinese towns, there is always construction going on. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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An early morning breakfast of eggs and dumplings. Image by Georges.


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Roger, Ian and Mr. Chen fill up before another long day of calorie burning bridge hikes. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Located right along the G50, Yesanguanzhen is just a few kilometers from both Siduhe and Zhijinghe Bridges. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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One of the larger Western-style rest stops on the G50 is located near Enshi. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The food prices are also Westernized costing more then double the amount of a normal market. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Our colorful hotel in Enshi. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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We were all hungry for a midnight meal in an Enshi back alley restaurant. Image by Georges.


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Roger and Georges liked the food "hot and spicy". Image by Georges.


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Just outside the Enshi city center there are many wide new boulevards that are designed and built to handle the rapid growth of car ownership, manufacturing businesses and housing with less congestion and more room. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The huge Mashui River Viaduct with 3 main spans of 200 meters. A new reservoir below the bridge reduced the height by 150 feet / 46 meters since the bridge first opened in 2008. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Like all of Western China's big mountain bridges, we could not resist taking a stroll across the deck! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The main piers are impressive with heights of 133 and 139 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Just 2 kilometers downstream of the Mashuihe Viaduct is the Nanlidu arch bridge with a gorgeous red span of 220 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The 8 main ribs are composed of steel tubes filled with concrete that was pumped into them during construction. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The west end of Nanlidu bridge is home to a stone cutting factory. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The beautiful white lines of the Qingjiang River Bridge, one of the highest single tower cable stayed bridges in the world. The Qing River is one of the largest in Western China with white water rafting and a flow that looks comparable to the Colorado River. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Qinglong required another careful hang over the edge to get a height measurement. Image by Georges.


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Just 1 kilometer east of the Qingjiang Bridge is another big G50 rest stop with vacuum packed chicken legs to appease your bridge climbing hunger! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Several rafters make their way towards the bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Georges struggles to get a view over the foliage. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Georges.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A smaller version of the nearby Zhijinghe arch bridge, the Xiaohe crossing is nearly as spectacular with a main span of 338 meters and a deck height of 208 meters. Image by Georges.


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We discovered a temporary encampment beneath the Xiaohe arch bridge where workers were in the early stages of painting the entire structure despite the span opening to traffic in 2010. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Georges is welcomed by a worker to check out the odd assortment of bridge construction equipment and supplies. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The dull look of the temporary paint that was applied to the original truss sections when they were on the ground will be covered over by a bright new red finish similar to the Zhijinghe Bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The foundations of the original bridge worker's living quarters is all that exists directly beneath the span. The local 2-lane road that leads into the valley was completely rebuilt with a concrete layer 1.5 meters thick. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A new railway line from Yichang to Chongqing crosses this 100+ meter high viaduct. The new twin tracked bridge is just a few kilometers from the Chongqing border. The G50 travels right under it. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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It is hard to appreciate the size of the huge new Zhongxian Yangtze River Bridge that carries the G50 more then 100 meters above the river. The main span is 460 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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We finally made it to the Yangtze River city of Zhongxian where our hotel room gave us a peek at the Zhongxian suspension bridge completed in 2001 with a main span of 460 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view of some Zhongxian City apartment buildings from our "4 star" hotel. The Zhongxian hotel was one of just 2 "fancy" hotels we stayed at on the entire 3 week trip. The other one was in Liupanshui City. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The large lobby even had an "Assistant Manager" who offers guests a convenient ash tray even if the sign says "No Smoking". Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A city creek that leads into the Yangtze had some interesting walkways for the locals to reach their riverfront apartments. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Yangjialing beam bridge is the last high bridge along the G50 with a deck to creek height of 145 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Unusual sights beneath Chinese bridges are commonplace. This lone tent was located below Yangjialing with a bug curtain. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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There is no air conditioning but at least you are safe from the mosquitoes! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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We drove more then an hour south of Zhongxian before crossing the Yangtze on the Fengdu suspension bridge which has a span of 450 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The suspenders angle slightly inwards which is unusual on large scale suspension bridges. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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One of many beautiful stone arch spans on the National Road 103 north of Fuling City. There are literally thousands of similar spans throughout China. Most have never been seen by foreigners. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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This is the only known pipeline bridge across the Yangtze River. The long main span is unusual for being cable stayed. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The spectacular new Han Tangjiatuo cable stayed bridge will carry the new high speed railway line from eastern China to Chongqing City when it opens in 2012 just north of Fuling. Could this be the world's longest span high speed railway bridge? Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Shibangou Bridge is yet another new Fuling cable stayed bridge. This one was built for locals in 2009 and has a main span of 450 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view of Shibangou Bridge with the mouth of the Wujiang River barely visible on the right. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The original Fuling Bridge that opened in 1997 with a span of 330 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Fuling City is growing rapidly since the completion of the 3 Gorges dam created easy access for large ships headed to nearby Chongqing City. A female worker heads up a construction crane tower with little more then sneakers and a tool belt. Image by Georges.


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The new Fuling city bridge over the mouth of the mighty Wujing River. The cable stayed span is an unusual asymmetrical design with one tower about a third higher then the other. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Just a few kilometers upstream is a huge new crossing of the Wujiang that will carry a new 4-lane highway along the Yangtze River from Fuling to Wanxian. A design for the longest span extradosed bridge in the world was also considered. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Wujiang arch bridge was the first in China to be built by constructing the two halves of the arch on either river embankment and then swinging them out over the river and connecting them at the crown in one large move. This method of arch construction is only done in China. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Behold the Caijiagou Viaduct, the largest railway bridge on earth with the largest and tallest bridge piers ever built for a railway line. Constructed for the new high speed line from eastern China to Chongqing City, the huge structure is more then 2 kilometers long. The tallest pier is 139 meters from the foundation to the underside of the beam. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Caijiagou is easy to see from the highway that connects Fuling to Chongqing City. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The older Caijiagou highway viaduct is quite a large bridge in its own right! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The towers will support twin tracks with 3 main spans of 144 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The weather was unbearably hot near Chongqing so a stop off at drink stand was a daily routine with Georges, Mr. Chen and I alternating between Pepsi, Iced Tea and Red Bull drinks. Roger and Ian mostly stuck to water. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The city of Chongqing where the mighty Jialing River meets the Yangtze River. The city is the largest in all of Western China with more then 30 million people. The low level viaduct you see in the upper right is temporary for the construction of a new cable stayed metro line bridge that will head south across the Jialing River before turning east in a tunnel and then across another cable stayed bridge over the Yangtze River. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A new Chongqing City hotel rises more then 300 meters high on the right while the gold spired roof of the new Sheraton Hotel can be seen on the left. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Our hotel in Chongqing City overlooked a lively back alley of small restaurants that serve the poor locals while the wealthier citizens venture out to the main boulevard of expensive Western-style shops and restaurants. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The next morning we visited the mighty Shibanpo bridge with a world record breaking span of 330 meters. The central third of the beam is made entirely of steel and was lifted into place. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Caiyuanba is the second longest span double decker arch bridge in the world with a rare monorail metro on the lower level. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The two "mono" rails can be seen with an access hole beneath each. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Nearby Egongyan Bridge was the first of what is now at least 4 major Yangtze River suspension bridge crossings in the vicinity of Chongqing City. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The mother of all arch bridges - the record breaking Chaotianmen arch with a span of 552 meters. This length is just 2 meters longer then Shanghai's Lupu Bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Our next big high bridge expressway to tackle was the G65 which goes from Chongqing City to Hunan Province and other points east. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Our first bridge stop was at this beam bridge crossing of the Wujiang River. The G65 highway parallels a new rail line and made for a nice location to do some train spotting. The railway goes from Chongqing City to Qian Jiang city and probably opened around 2008. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Roger checks out the carriages as they cross the new concrete beam span. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The third highest bridge on the G65 is the spectacular Wushan Bridge with a height of 190 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The beautiful and very high Wulingshan Bridge. This gorge busting span is one of the 10 highest cable stayed bridges in the world. Image by Georges Alban.


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The river valley some 263 meters below. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Georges.


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A new warren truss concrete arch bridge dominates the view looking north. The 2-lane bridge carries the old National road 202 along the general route of the new G65 expressway. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view of Wulingshan Bridge from the National Road 202. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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We finally arrived in the mountainous city of Qianjiang hoping to find a place where we could do some much needed laundry washing. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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New apartment high rises dominate the east end of the city where the G65 is just a few kilometers away. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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We finally found a shop on the main boulevard that would wash our laundry by the next morning. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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In Qiangjiang we finally had our first hot pot dinner of the trip! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

Click on Page 2 for Week Two with construction views of Aizhai Bridge and More!

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