China’s Unnecessary Mega-Bridges!
What a powerful photo: poverty-stricken Chinese farmers working in the shadow of one of the world’s greatest bridges – a bridge that is so expensive to cross they will never do so in their lifetime!
“Squinting up from a dirt road below, Gu Tianyong, a 66-year-old farmer, pondered the colossus, which is a shortcut linking southwestern China with the east coast.
“The government wouldn’t have built it if it was useless,” he said. “It does nothing for me, but must be useful for the country.”
That quote is from a terrific investigative piece in The New York Times that looks at China’s building boom, particularly bridges that don’t seem to be needed!
Here is more of the story:
“…fewer than a third of the 65 Chinese highway and rail projects he examined were “genuinely economically productive,” while the rest contributed more to debt than to transportation needs. Unless such projects are reined in, the study warned, “poorly managed infrastructure investments” could push the nation into financial crisis.”
The New York Times does a great job putting these mega-bridges in perspective, explaining how China has a long history of massive construction projects:
“In the country that built the Great Wall, major feats of infrastructure have long been a point of pride. China has produced engineering coups like the world’s highest railway, from Qinghai Province to Lhasa, Tibet; the world’s largest hydropower project, the Three Gorges Dam; and an 800-mile canal from the Yangtze River system to Beijing that is part of the world’s biggest water transfer project.”
Bravo to the New York Times for their reporting.
As they point out, the Yangtze River is part of the world’s largest “water transfer” project – and it uprooted millions of people in the process.
There is a terrific, and very sobering documentary about the Yangtze River project – see the trailer here:
The reason I subscribe to the digital New York Times is because they are still doing in-depth, investigative reporting like this, which we need now more than ever – here is the entire article:
And what about this – the world’s longest bridge? In China of course!
According to NPR:
“the 26.3-mile long Jiaozhou Bay bridge opened in China. It links the “eastern port city of Qingdao to an offshore island, Huangdao.” Now that it’s done, it will cut the time to drive from Qingdao to Huangdao by 20 to 30 minutes.
According to Xinhua, China’s official news agency, the span cost $2.3 billion. It’s long enough that it could span the English Channel at its narrowest point, with about six miles to spare, the BBC says.”
I want to visit China one day, partly to see mage-structures like that – and to walk on a glass bridge, like this one:
Yes, China built a glass bridge over a wide canyon – and it cracked! See that story here:
I have also shared the story of a highway that was built in China – not going across the river but alongside it!
You can see more pictures of this technical marvel here:
Let me know if you’ve been across one of China’s amazing “super bridges!”