China opened a civil engineering masterpiece back on Aug 9 with the country’s first eco-friendly highway that connects the metropolitan city of Shanghai with Chengdu. Residents have taken calling it the “Over-water highway” that is an obvious one considering some part of it was made over water instead of cutting the mountain to make way for it.
Due to its position over water, it gives a great view of the surrounding areas. It arches around the water in the mountainous region of the Hubei province spanning a length of nearly eleven kilometers with the over-water part almost 4.4 Kms long.
The initial surveying for this mega project resulted in three possible pathways. Two of them involved extensive tunneling and path making on the side of the mountains present in the way. But, it would be much cheaper than building a 4.4 Km bridge from end to end. The Chinese government in an effort to promote environmental-friendly practices, decided to go with the bridge option instead of the land route.
Work began in 2013 and it was only last month that the whole project was completed. It took a certain level of ingenuity and robust engineering to pull off the whole structure. A 4.4 Km long viaduct was constructed to hold the highway above the water.
The total cost of the project is estimated around 70 million dollars while the viaduct was constructed at a cost of 32 million dollars in addition to that. But, considering the biosphere around the highway wasn’t damaged because of this project, it is indeed a great payback! It has shortened the time required to commute between the cities and additionally gives 20 minutes of breathtaking views too. China needs to promote these practices in its dominant industrial culture to show the world that its system is environmentally stable.