Aizhai Bridge

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Aizhai Bridge
矮寨特大桥
Jishou, Hunan, China
1,102 feet high / 336 meters high
3,858 foot span / 1,176 meter span
2012

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Aizhai is the world’s highest tunnel to tunnel bridge and the fourth suspension bridge in China to cross a valley so wide it seems to be connecting two mountain ranges. The first three were the Siduhe, Balinghe and Beipanjiang 2009 bridges. Of the world's 400 or so highest bridges, none has a main span as long as Aizhai with a tower to tower distance of 3,858 feet (1,176 mtrs). Located deep in the heart of China’s Hunan Province near the city of Jishou, the suspension bridge is the largest structure on the Jishou to Chadong expressway with a deck 1,102 feet (336 mtrs) above the DeHang Canyon.

The two tunnels on either side of the Aizhai bridge allowed the engineers to use the mountain top for the location of one of the towers, reducing its height to just 165 feet (50 mtrs) - unusually short for a bridge with a span nearly as long as the Golden Gate bridge at 3,858 feet (1176 mtrs). In addition to cost savings, the stubby support also allows the bridge to blend more naturally into its surroundings. The taller bridge tower is no less unique with side span cables that soar down the backside of a mountain, making first time visitors quizzical as to what exactly lies ahead. With most of the structure hidden from view, the bridge will come as a jaw-dropping surprise whether you enter the canyon from either tunnel. Due to a gap of approximately 328 feet (100 mtrs) between the last truss suspenders and the tops of the bridge towers, the engineers added some additional ground anchored suspenders to stabilize the two massive suspension cables and reduce any oscillations that could damage other components of the bridge. An overlook and visitors center will offer additional views of the broad valley.

Click on the excellent YouTube channel "Chinese Bridge" to see a video of the Aizhai Bridge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hQf16PFYRw


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Aizhai Bridge Elevation


2012年即将通车的矮寨大桥,将会是世界上最高的两端均与隧道相接的悬索桥,同时,也将是中国的第四座跨越大峡谷的悬索桥,它将跨越的峡谷如此之宽,令其远观就像与两侧山峦相连一样。另三座跨越峡谷的大桥分别是四渡河大桥、坝陵河大桥和北盘江大桥(2009年建成,镇胜高速上)。位于中国湖南省腹地并毗邻湖南吉首市,矮寨大桥是吉首至茶洞高速公路上最大的桥梁,其桥面将距德夯大峡谷谷底336米。

矮寨大桥两端接线的隧道,给桥梁工程师们提供了足够的场地条件,使他们能够在山顶上建设主塔,这样就能将其中一侧的主塔的高度减少到仅仅只有50米-这对一座跨径几乎与1176m跨的金门大桥相当的悬索桥而言,主塔高度可谓是相当之矮。除了建设成本上的节约之外,粗壮的支承体系允许桥梁结构能够有更多的挠曲空间。较高一侧的主塔也依然独特,边跨的钢主缆索远远的飞跃到隧道口后方的锚固到高山侧崖上,这些都令甫至胜境的游客不禁的好奇坐落前方的究竟为何。结构大部分都在崇山峻岭之间隐藏着,不论你从峡谷哪一侧的隧道驶出,大桥的出现绝对足以让人惊讶的下巴掉下来。由于在大桥最后的桁架节段吊杆与主塔塔顶间约有100米的间隔,工程师们便增加了一定数量的地锚拉杆,以稳定两根庞大的悬索钢缆并可以尽量降低会造成大桥其他构件破坏的振动。建设一个瞭望观光平台和旅游中心更将能提供欣赏大峡谷的宽广视角


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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 Rednet.cn


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by John Morrison.


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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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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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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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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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Aizhai Bridge plaza. 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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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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Image by Eric Sakowski.


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Image by Eric Sakowski.


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Image by Eric Sakowski.


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Image by John Brignoli.


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Image by Eric Sakowski.


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Image by Eric Sakowski.


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Image by John Brignoli.


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Image by Eric Sakowski.


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Image by Eric Sakowski.


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Image by Eric Sakowski.


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Image by Han Ruoyu.


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Image by John Hart.


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Richard Scott.


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A 310 meter high sky ladder was placed from the deck to the ground. Not sure what it was used for. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view of the ladder with the older tightrope still up from a 2012 event. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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One of the highest tightrope walks ever took place during a 2012 event with Chinese walker Adili Hoshur and 2 of his assistants walking 300 meters above the DeHang River on a wire 1,400 meters long parallel to the Aizhai Bridge. They had no safety harnesses or leashes to save them if they lost their balance. Adili has already performed at least three other record breaking high wire acts in China including a walk 662 meters above the floor of the Tiankeng Cave in Hubei Province on August 22nd, 2003. Canadian Jay Chochrane crossed over the Qutang Gorge of the Yangtze River on a 402 meter high wire in 1995 and inspired Adili to repeat it again on June 23, 1997 with a much quicker walk time of just 13 minutes and 48 seconds. On October 6th, 2000 Adili also crossed between Mount Zhurong and Mount Furong in Hunan Province on a wire 436 meters high. These are the highest known wire walks in addition to Philippe Petit's famous 417 meter high walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City on August 7, 1974. In the United States, Nik Wallenda did a 457 meter high walk across the Little Colorado River canyon near Cameron, Arizona on June 23, 2013 with no safety leash.

You can see an entire CCTV produced documentary on Adili's amazing career at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO7g8bf-PEM Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Chinanews.com


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Image by Chinanews.com


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Image by Chinanews.com


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Image by Chinanews.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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North anchor tightrope. 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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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The truss was nearly complete in mid-August 2011. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by John Filmer.


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Image by Jorson.


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Image by Peter Wu.


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Image by John Filmer.


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Image by Peter Wu.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The safety net gave the bridge a unique green glow during the construction phase. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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An early construction view from 2009 after the main cables were completed.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by John Filmer.


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The nearly complete elevator for tourists to descend from the parking area to the bridge truss walkway. 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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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Public bridge day celebration in February, 2012. Image by jt.rednet.cn


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Note the last set of cable suspenders on the left side are anchored into the ground. Image by jt.rednet.cn


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Grand Opening Celebration occurred on March 31, 2012.


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Image by voc.com.cn


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by cfp.cn.


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A sweeper keeps the beams clean for opening day.


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Image by Chinanews.com


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Image by news.rednet.cn.


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A group of paragliders buzzed across the span.


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Thousands gathered along the old road that zig zags beneath the new span. Image by voc.com.cn.


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Image by jssxww.cn.


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Image by jssxww.cn.


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A long temporary construction shed was built below the bridge to protect drivers from falling debris during construction. 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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Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The small town of Aizhai is dwarfed by the bridge. 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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Workers had already begun installation of the smaller truss stringer beams on top of the larger truss. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Aizhai Bridge truss connection at the center span. By "locking" the main cables to the deck, the bridge deck steel expands and contracts evenly at the expansion joints located at either end of the truss near the towers.


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Aizhai Bridge load test with dozens of gravel filled trucks.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A motorbike rider takes his first ride across the span.


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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 tunnel anchorage on the North side of Aizhai Bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The south tower cliff is covered with bolts to ensure the ground remains stable. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A measurement drawing of the deepest section of the valley.


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A direct size comparison between the Aizhai and New River Gorge Bridges.


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The Dehang Canyon road dead ends in 4 kilometers where a special minority village is located. As an invited guest you can see a spectacular show with music, colorful costumes, dragons, a fire walker and more! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Dehang Canyon entrance gate. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The DeHang Canyon is an official Chinese National Park. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Georges.


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Image by Georges.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The limestone rock formation known as the 3 sisters stand high above the gorge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The town of Aizhai with the 3 sisters in the distance. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

Click on Page 2 for the Aizhai Truss Launch, Construction Views and More!

This entry has 4 pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
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