The Yangtze River, the world's third longest waterway, is expecting a new landmark as construction counts down toward completion of the widest bridge on the river.
With a length of 7,548 meters and a width of 48 meters, the Qingshan Yangtze River Road Bridge in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, began paving asphalt on Monday.
Upon completion, it will become the world's longest cable-stayed bridge with a floating system, said China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group Co. Ltd. (MBEC), the project's main constructor.
The main steel structure of the 10-lane dual-way bridge has no lower beams, so it can "swing" between the giant supporting beams on the sides to offset the impact of strong winds and earthquakes, according to MBEC.
The bridge is expected to open to traffic next year and significantly improve the road network and logistics in Wuhan, an important transportation hub in central China.
The new landmark is located 20 km downstream of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, which was built 62 years ago as the first major bridge across the country's busiest waterway.
Liu Ziming, board chairman of MBEC, said China has made big progress in the infrastructure sector since the time when the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge was built.
"Back then, the construction (of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge) needed the support of the whole country. Now our company alone can build more than 120 bridges at the same time," said Liu.
China's bridge-building entered a golden age in the new century, boosted by the country's highway and railway construction, urban development and island reclamation, as well as the Belt and Road Initiative, said Zhu Haijun, a senior engineer with the China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co. Ltd.
"China's bridge construction is moving in direction of long span, heavy load, lightweight and new materials," Zhu said.
"New types of bridges, such as high-speed railway bridges, long-span highway bridges, sea-crossing bridges and urban overpasses, in China have constantly smashed world records," he said.
In June, the Pingtan cross-strait road-rail bridge connected its main fairway from both ends. The bridge, which spans across the extremely rough and gusty sea off the coast of southeast China, is believed to be the most difficult bridge project in China.
In October 2018, China opened the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world's longest cross-sea bridge. The mega project spans 55 km over south China's Lingding Channel, involving an investment of 126.9 billion yuan (about 18.3 billion U.S. dollars).