This week, China unveiled one of the largest bridges the Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Bridge project that will connect Shanghai, the most affluent city in the country, to a less affluent city across the Yangtze River in the hope to boost the neighbouring city’s economy. The Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Bridge that is is 11,072 metres long and that took 6 years and 4 months to complete construction is expected to connect the industrial city of Nantong in the northern part of Jiangsu province in eastern China to the wealthy city of Shanghai and will reduce the amount of time that several residents take to cross between both cities.
The US$2.1 billion bridge that began construction in 2014 is the world’s first combined bridge with a main span of more than 1,000 metres with a main span of 1,092 metres. The Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Bridge is made of 480,000 tonnes of steel and its main pylon, measured at 330 metres tall, is the tallest among all combined cable-stayed bridges in the world. “This bridge has closed a gap in the railway network in eastern China that has been a snag for decades because of the Yangtze River. Now, the railway network reaches all the way to Shandong and even Beijing and Tianjin in the north and to Zhejiang and Fujian provinces in the south. Zeng Gang, director of the Centre for Modern Chinese City Studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, said rail transport was less developed in northern Jiangsu because of its relatively flat terrain and frequent flooding. “Northern Jiangsu has been relatively slow in urbanisation and industrial development, and growth of the agricultural sector was unstable,” said Chen Wen, a Nanjing-based researcher who studied the Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Bridge project
Zeng said the new bridge would facilitate the movement of goods and people allowing the cities to complement each other in their development drives. “Shanghai is strong in the capital, human talents and management expertise, while Nantong has plenty of lands and is rich in ecological resources. They can complement one another.”