Earth & Conservation

The World's Highest Bridge Has Officially Opened in China

The Beipanjiang bridge stretches 1,854 feet above the Beipan River.

<p>People's Daily Online // Chinanews.com</p>

The highest bridge in the world officially opened to traffic Thursday in China. The Beipanjiang bridge is 1,854 ft (565 meters) tall and is constructed above the Beipan River gorge in southwestern China, reported the People's Daily Online.

Spanning an impressive distance of 2,363 ft (720 meters), the massive bridge was constructed to connect the remote provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou, cutting the commute time between Xuanwei city and Shuicheng county down from four hours to just one.

At a cost of 1.023 billion yuan (approximately $140 million), the bridge took three years to complete. It's part of the Hangrui Highway, a national motorway that connects southern China's Hangzhou city with Ruili city, which lies on the border between China and Myanmar.

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Although the Beipanjiang now holds the world record for highest bridge, France's Millau viaduct, which spans the the valley of the River Tarn, remains the world's tallest bridge - the actual structure measuring 1,125 feet (343 meters) tall. The highest pylon of the Beipanjiang Bridge measures just 882.5 ft (269 meters) tall.

Until the Beipanjiang bridge opened, China's Si Du River Bridge, which rises 1,627 ft (496 meters) above the water, held the world's record as the highest bridge. China seems to have an affinity for building high bridges, as eight of the ten highest bridges in the world are located there. The Jinshajiang Bridge Taku in Lijiang, Yunnan will become the second highest bridge in the world, just below the Beipanjiang, when it's completed in 2021.

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