Deep into the mysterious West Hunan Province of central China, Aizhai Suspension Bridge is an outstanding modern structure and the most important project on the Jishou to Chadong expressway (part of Changsha to Chongqing expressway passage) to improve the traffic and optimize the transport system between Hunan and Chongqing. After its completion in 2012, Aizhai Bridge becomes the highest tunnel to tunnel bridge in the world and the fourth suspension bridge in China, with a height of 355 meters (1,165 feet) above the Dehang Canyon.
Aizhai Bridge facts
Chinese name: 矮寨大桥
Location: No.209 National Road, Aizhai Village, 20km from Jishou City, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province, China
From Zhangjiajie to Aizhai Bridge: approximately 215km
From Fenghuang Old Town to Aizhai Bridge: approximately 69km
Aizhai Bridge height, length and width: 355 meters (1,165 feet) in height, 1073.65 meters (3522.47 feet) in length, with a main span of 1176 meters (3,858 feet), and 24.5 meters (80.3 feet) in width with four lanes
Start date: October, 2007
Completion date: March, 2012
Aizhai Suspension Bridge history and construction
Dehang Canyon is a vital to Jishou to Chadong expressway, therefore the construction of Aizhai Suspension Bridge had to be put on the agenda. Based on the difficulties in empirical analysis (including the strategically located and difficult terrain, complex geological conditions, changeable weather and difficult transportation), the implementation of the programme was worked out. The Aizhai Bridge architects and engineers made bold innovations and created a highway bridge wonder. The structure of Aizhaih Bridge is quite different from the regular suspension bridge. Firstly, the towers and beams are completely detached, which allows lesser excavation on the mountains, shortens the length of steel truss girder and reduce the construction cost. Aizhai Bridge therefore blends more naturally and beautifully into its surroundings. Secondly, large rock anchor sling is used on the Aizhai Bridge, to fix the steel truss girder on the rock of mountains. On March 31, 2012, Aizhai Suspension Bridge was officially opened to the traffic, and the Changsha to Chongqing highway is finally completed.
Aizhai Bridge Picture
Aizhai winding road
Right next to Aizhai Suspension Bridge is the Aizhai winding road, another highway wonder on the China National Highway 319 (Hunan to Sichuan Highway). This 6-kilomter-long road has 13 bends of 70 to 90 degree angle. The widest part of the road is 7 meters and the vertical height is 440 meters. All of these make it difficult to construct and the engineering expense is high. According to the records, it took more than 2000 people 7 months to complete the Aizhai widing road in 1935. Unfortunately, over 200 people of them died of the accidents when building the road. Thereafter, a bronze statue has been made and stands beside the road to commemorate the victims.
Aizhai Winding Road picture
The Aizhai Village
The primitive, tranquil village of Aizhai has been inhabited by the miao people. Due to its relatively remote location, the miao people still keep the simple traditional lifestyle. The little village has four ancient city gates. There are both wooden diaojiaolou (stilted building) dwellings and rock dwellings. Travel to Aizhai Village, visitors can experience the unique miao culture, traditions and various activities during the celebrations. For travelers who plan an extension tour from Zhangjiajie or Fenghuang Town, Aizhai Village with Aizhai Bridge and Aizhai Winding Road is highly recommended.