China has unveiled the world’s longest sea bridge, which stretches a massive 26.4 miles – five miles further than the distance between Dover and Calais and longer than a marathon.
The Qingdao Haiwan Bridge, completed earlier this week, links the main urban area of Qingdao city, East China’s Shandong province, with Huangdao district, straddling the Jiaozhou Bay sea areas.
World’s longest sea bridge 2011 – Qingdao Haiwan Bridge, China
The road bridge, which took four years and cost a cool £5.5billion to build, will be open for use in the New Year and is almost three miles longer than the previous record-holder, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana.
That structure features two bridges running side by side and is 23.87 miles (38.42km) long.
The three-way Qingdao Haiwan Bridge is a staggering 174 times longer than London’s Tower Bridge, over the Thames River – and shaves 19 miles off the drive from Qingdao to Huangdao.
Two separate groups of workers have been building the different ends of the structure since 2006.
One engineer commented: ‘The computer models and calculations are all very well but you can’t really relax until the two sides are bolted together.
‘Even a few centimetres out would have been a disaster.’
With an overall length of 42.58km, the route between Qingdao and Huangdao will be shortened by 30km, cutting the travel time by about 20 minutes.
However, the colossal construction is set to hold the record as the longest sea bridge only for a few years – and it will be bettered by another Chinese bridge in the next decade.
Last December officials announced workers had begun constructing a bridge to link southern Guangdong province with Hong Kong and Macau.