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Proud, Yunnan to another record-breaking bridge
8/23/2019


Yunnan will soon take pride in another new bridge that will become the worlds focus again!

The main cables of the Jinan Bridge, the largest suspension bridge under construction in mountainous areas worldwide, were erected recently, evoking successive reports by Xinhua, People's Daily, Guangming Daily and other major media home and abroad.

The bridge crosses over the Jinsha River section in northwest Yunnan's Lijiang. And it is a dream that has come true for most locals, including those in the neighboring Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

The Jinsha River section in NW Yunnan is part of the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Rushing through the tri-junction of Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet, the river section is featured by steep and precipitous cliffs.

The natural chasm of the Jinsha River has traditionally made it hard for locals to be linked to the outside world. So building a highway with a bridge over the Jinsha River has always been a dream for villagers in the area.

In 2017, construction of the Jinan Jinsha River bridge was officially initiated as a key project of the Chengdu -Lijiang freeway. The highway will open to traffic by the end of 2020.

By then, the bus ride from Lijiang in Yunnan to Panzhihua in Sichuan will be shortened from 6 hours to 2, the Lijiang-Chengdu trip will be cut to less than 7 hours, and the Yongsheng-Lijiang trip will be a matter of 25 minutes.

The Jinan Jinsha River bridge is the most challenging project on the freeway, and the 1,386-meter span makes it the largest suspension bridge under construction in the worlds mountainous areas.

Unlike other suspension bridges, the Jinan bridge has its cables fixed on the towers at the bridge ends. Two steel main cables carry the entire bridge.

The main cable is 2,046 meters long and consists of 169 strands. With 40,000 plus steel wires, the bridge can support a maximum of 164,000 tons.

The tough terrain near NW Yunnans Deqin has made it impossible to employ modern techniques or internationally-top equipments.

Step by step, the builders had to blaze their own way in building the bridge, blowing the slopes, cutting the hills, and flattening the ground.

In the event of gales, the Jinan bridge can be replaced by a passage made up of by ships one after another on the river, and all ships will be linked to two 1,400 m steel ropes.

To finish the bridge on time, the workers have adopted a three-shift system, working around the clock.

The catwalk has a 30-degree slope, and the tower tops are a160-storey height over the river. When it rains, the catwalk will get wet and slippery, making it harder to walk on.

To keep the strands intact during erection, the workers have to walk to on a 2,047-meter catwalk to pull the cables. They usually have seven round trips a day on the catwalk, 28 kilometers in total.

The bridge also encouraged the nearby villagers to go outside to fulfill the dream of getting rich.

Zhang Ping, deputy manager of the bridge project, is a native of Huaping County in northwest Yunnan. He had worked outside but did not hesitate to return home to build the bridge. Zhang has been dreaming of the freeway for 21 years.

I hope that via the highway children in the mountains could have access to better education and safer trips, said Zhang. He is willing to work even harder so that the bridge can open to traffic sooner.

More than 200 villagers have joined in building the bridge, learning work skills and getting rich one after another. Most nearby families now have new houses, and some even got a car. 


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