World’s First 1 Km-Span Road-Rail Cable Bridge Links Shanghai With North Yangtze Cities

XU WEI

(Yicai Global) July 1 — The Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Yangtze River Expressway-Railway Bridge, the world’s first such bridge with a one kilometer-level main span, officially opened to traffic today as the Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Railway also started running.

The 11,072 -meter-long bridge, which was entirely China designed and built, is the world’s first six-lane highway and four-track railroad cable-stayed bridge with an over 1,000 meter main span. It is high enough to allow passage of 50,000-ton container ships and 100,000-ton bulk carriers beneath it, The Paper reported, citing Wang Feng, China State Railway Group’s deputy chief engineer, director of its construction department and head of its engineering supervision bureau. The span’s 330-meter-tall main tower is the highest of all road and railroad cable-stayed bridges in the world.

A train leaving the cities of Nantong, Taizhou or Yangzhou, which are in central Jiangsu province on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, had to transit through Nanjing to reach the southern bank. This was quite a detour as Nanjing lies about 260 kilometers west of Nantong, and so residents of north and central Jiangsu have been looking forward to a cross-river railroad. After the train route is fully up and running, residents of cities along it will be able to reach Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other destinations by high-speed rail via the shortcut the bridge provides.

The structure, which is a crucial control engineering project of the Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Railway, broke ground on May 2014. Its investment totaled about CNY15 billion (USD2.1 billion). The rail line will greatly improve trans-river transport capacity, shorten the temporal and spatial distance between Shanghai, Nantong and other parts of eastern Jiangsu province, and push the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region.

With a design speed of 200 kilometers per hour, the 143 km-long railway links up with the coastal corridor of China’s high-speed rail network and is a key part of the second corridor of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railroad. The route starts in Nantong and passes Suzhou before coming to a stop in Shanghai.

The railroad is the first to open to traffic this year in Shanghai and Jiangsu. The ribbon-cutting of the Yancheng-Nantong Railway by the end of this year will form a convenient coastal railroad channel between northern and central Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang province.

The Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Railway will also fill a glaring gap in eastern China’s rail network, cutting the time from Nantong to Shanghai to just over one hour from its previous four to five hours.

Editor: Ben Armour

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