8 Record-Breaking Chaotianmen Bridge Facts

One of the most astounding bridges in the world can be found in a huge city in the south-central part of China.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about the Chaotianmen Bridge, an incredible structure that holds a remarkable world record!

1. It’s located in the heart of an important city in China

The Chaotianmen Bridge is an enormous through arch bridge located in the city of Chongqing, originally known as Chungking, in the south-central part of China.

Chongqing is also the name of a municipality that is only 1 of 4 of its kind which is under the direct control of the central government of the People’s Republic of China. It’s only the only inland one as the others are Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin.

The municipality was only split from the Sichuan Province in 1997 in order to further develop the region, something that’s working out quite well if you see the enormous construction projects going on in the city with over 31 million inhabitants!

Chaotianmen Bridge location
The bridge in Chingqing / Juukeihc / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

2. It crosses one of the longest rivers in the world

Chongqing has been an important city in China since ancient times, and that’s mainly because of its location on the banks of the longest river in Asia, the Yangtze River.

This famous river has a total length of 6,300 kilometers (3,900 miles) which also makes it the third-longest river in the world after the Nile River and the Amazon River.

This river is also the location of the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world called the “Three Gorges Dam,” an enormous dam situated about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) downstream from Chongqing.

The Chaotianmen Bridge crosses the Yangtze River in the central part of the enormous city in an area of the city called the “Nan’an District.”

Chonqing bridge yangtze river
The bridge over the Yangtze River / Graeme Bray / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en

3. It took 4.5 years for the bridge to be completed

Even though construction projects in China are usually completed in record time, the construction of the bridge took quite a while to be completed.

The official start of the construction of the bridge was in December of the year 2004 and it was only completed in April of the year 2009, which means it took over 4.5 years to finish the project.

The bridge carries 6 lanes of traffic on the upper deck and there’s also a pedestrian sidewalk on each side. The lower deck carries 2 lanes of traffic on each side and also features rail traffic as it carries a loop line of the Chongqing Metro in the middle.

Detail of CHaotiamen facts
Detail of the huge bridge / Junyi Lou / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

4. The bridge has the same design as other famous bridges

The first thing you notice when looking at the amazing bridge in Chongqing is that it looks quite familiar to some other famous bridges in the world. Perhaps the best example is the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia.

The design of these bridges is called a “through arch bridge,” and as the name implies, this simply means that the deck(s) of the bridge actually runs right through the supporting arch of the structure.

Another feature of this type of bridge is that the central part of the deck is suspended by cables or beams. These types of bridges are often constructed with both steel and reinforced concrete.

Sydney Harbour Bridge landmarks
Detail of the Sydney Harbor Bridge / Wiki Commons

5. The Chaotianmen Bridge holds a fascinating record

One of the most amazing facts about the Chaotianmen Bridge is that it’s the longest through arch bridge in the world. The bridge has a total length of 1,741 meters (5,712 feet) and the main span has a length of 552 meters (1,811 feet).

To give some reference to this number, the length of the main span of the Sydney Harbor Bridge is 503 meters (1,650 feet), and that of the Bayonne Bridge in New Jersey is 510.54 meters (1,675 feet).

Chaotiamen bridge length
Detail of the record-breaking bridge / Thomas Bächinger

6. It has the same height as the average skyscraper

Apart from having the longest span in the world, the bridge also reaches the height of a pretty decent skyscraper, and you’ll find many huge skyscrapers in Chongqing.

The width of the bridge is 36.5 meters (120 feet) and it reaches a total height of 142 meters (466 feet) to the top of the arch in the central part.

Chaotianmen bridge height
Detail of the bridge’s height on the side / Glabb / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

7. The bridge was extremely expensive to build

The construction of this enormous bridge cost quite a bit of money as about 3.2 billion Yuan was spent on this project. This is the equivalent of almost $500 million USD!

Even though half a billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, it’s far from being the most expensive bridge ever constructed. This honor is reserved for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge ($20 billion), the Great Seto Bridge in Japan ($15.4 billion), and the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge in China ($8.5 billion).

The most expensive bridge in the United States (at the time of writing in June 2021) is the Eastern Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge which cost a whopping $6.5 billion to complete!

Chaotianmen bridge fun facts
The huge bridge in the distance / Qa003qa003 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

8. The structure looks quite amazing at night

The megacity of Chongqing is filled with tall skyscrapers that create one of the most amazing skylines in the world, especially at night.

This also means that the Chaotianmen Bridge is equipped with lights that shine brightly at night to add to this fascinating spectacle, an amazing sight to behold!

Congqing bridge at night
Render of the bridge at night / Source