Beipanjiang River 2009 Bridge

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Beipanjiang River 2009 Bridge
北盘江特大桥
Qinglong, Guizhou, China
1,043 feet high / 318 meters high
2,087 foot span / 636 meter span
2009


Upon its opening on November 27th, 2009, the 1,043 foot (318 mtr) high Beipanjiang highway bridge became the 3rd high crossing of the Beipanjiang River to debut in just 8 years. The first was the 902 foot high (275 mtr) Beipanjiang railway bridge which debuted in 2001 as the highest railway bridge in the world. The second was the Beipanjiang 2003 bridge on the Xingyi to Guiyang Highway which opened as the world’s highest bridge with a suspension span 1,200 feet (366 mtrs) above the river. The 3 bridges are spaced about 50 miles apart from each other. No other river on earth outside China has more than one high bridge over it - the Beipanjiang has 3! If that is not incredible enough, a fourth crossing is planned for a highway between Kunming and Bijie in the vicinity of the railway bridge. To keep the names from becoming confusing, I refer to this bridge entry as the Beipanjiang River 2009 bridge while the 2-lane highway bridge located to the south I refer to as the Beipanjiang River 2003 bridge.

The word Beipanjiang (pronounced Bay-Pan-Gee-Ang) translates into North Winding river with the word “bei” meaning north and “pan” meaning winding. Cutting a huge swath from the northwest end of Guizhou Province to the southwest where it becomes the Hongshui he river at the border of Guangxi Province, the Beipanjiang River traverses through some of China’s most spectacular mountain gorges. When China began to expand its road and railway system in the 1990s, the river became the biggest obstacle between the city of Guiyang and the city of Kunming. To make a direct connection between the two cities, engineers had to bring their 4-lane highway across two great rivers, the Balinghe and the Beipanjiang. Although the Balinghe suspension bridge gets all the attention since it is the higher and longer of the two, the highway bridge over the Beipanjiang is nearly its equal with a height of 1,080 feet (330 mtrs) - ranking it 8th among the world’s 10 highest bridges.

The design is fairly typical for a Chinese suspension bridge with a stiffened truss deck span of 2,086 feet (636 mtrs) strung between two H-frame concrete towers with no suspended back spans. The most unusual aspect of the bridge is the east tower which extends approximately 330 feet (100 mtrs) below the deck. With a total height of 525 feet (160 mtrs), the tower is almost equal in height to the Mackinac bridge in Michigan - America’s fifth tallest bridge structure.

The bridge is located about 6 miles (10 kms) east of Qinglong near the small village of Bagang.



Beipanjiang River 2009 Bridge Elevation


在2009年建成之后,318米高的北盘江公路桥成为8年内跨越北盘江的第三座开通的桥梁。第一座桥是2001年建成的275米高、仍然高居世界第一高度铁路桥的北盘江铁路桥。第二座通车的大桥时位于兴义至贵阳高速路上的、建设在北盘江之上366米高处的北盘江悬索桥。这三座北盘江大桥各自间距约50英里远,除了在中国,地球上没有任何一条河流上同时有三座很高的桥梁建成——仅仅只有北盘江,3座!如果这还不让人难以置信的话,规划中的昆明至毕节的公路干线上建有第四座跨越天堑的通道!并且紧邻北盘江铁路桥!此处,为了不致大家误解,本人将此大桥列为北盘江大桥(2009年),而在其南方的另一座2车道的公路桥称为北盘江大桥(2003年)。

词语“北盘江”的意思,拆解开来是“曲曲折折盘在山岭间的大江的北段”。从贵州西北角发源,像一道深深的刀痕一样,北盘江一路蜿蜒直至贵州西南角,直至接近广西时成为了红水河,它横贯过了中国许多雄峻的山脉。在20世纪60年代时,中国决心开始拓展在贵阳和昆明之间的公路铁路系统建设时,北盘江成为了最大的困难艰险。为了在两座城市间建设一个直接的联系通道,工程师们只得将他们的4车道高速公路跨越两个宽大的河谷,坝陵河和北盘江。尽管坝陵河悬索桥占尽了大家的注意力,因为它更高更长,但是跨越北盘江的高速公路大桥也几乎是有着相同的高度——330米,跻身成为世界前十高度大桥的第八位。

该桥的设计具有比较典型的中国式悬索桥的特点,加劲桁架式桥面跨越过位于两个H型混凝土主塔之间的636米的距离,以及非悬吊的数个边跨段。该桥最不寻常处是其东塔在桥面之下还有大约100米的部分。东塔的总高度达到160米,几乎和密歇根州的麦肯耐克大桥——美国第五高的桥梁结构——高度相同。


A worker walks along a beam more than 1,000 feet above the river. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


The east tower stands 525 feet (160 mtrs) high. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A view of the steel deck truss grid.



Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com



Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A view looking north up the Beipanjiang River gorge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by fans.railcn.net


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A truck with giant wind blades crosses the span in the right lane as the cargo is too wide for the left lane. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A worker cleans the dirt out of the gaps in the expansion joint. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


One of many tunnels leading to the east side of the bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


The highway traverses an assortment of high bridges just east of the Beipanjiang River bridge. The arch on the left and the beam bridge on the far right are both 328 feet (100 meters) high. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Beipanjiang River 2009 Bridge satellite image.

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