China drives ever upwards with world's highest bridge
With a height of 496 m (1,627 ft), the Sidu River Bridge in Hubei Province, China has held the title of the world's highest bridge since 2009. But it is set to be taken down a peg by the Beipanjiang Bridge Duge, which is being constructed 565 m (1,854 ft) over the Nizhu River Canyon in Guizhou province, China. Engineers recently completed the structure and the bridge is due to open to traffic by the end of the year.
A bridge's height is measured as the maximum vertical distance between the ground and the bridge deck and is not to be confused with the world's tallest bridge, which is measured as the height of the structure itself – a title that still belongs to the Millau Viaduct in France, at 343 m (1,125 ft).
The Beipanjiang Bridge Duge crosses the same valley as the Guanxing Highway Bridge, which held the title of highest bridge between 2003 and 2005, and the Shuibai Railway Bridge, which remains the world's highest railway bridge. While its height is its main claim to fame, the new bridge is no slouch in the length department either, spanning 1,341 m (4,400 ft) across.
With the extreme landscape of the area, roads often provide fairly indirect routes between cities. The Beipanjiang Bridge is set to help, cutting the travel time between Liupanshui, Guizhou to Xuanwei, Yunnan, from five hours down to less than two.