Hangzhou Bay Bridge
Connecting Zhenjiadai, Haiyan, Jiaxing City in the north and Shuiluwan, Cixi, Ningbo City in the south in Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou Bay Bridge is currently the world’s third longest trans-oceanic bridge, after Jiaozhou Bay Bridge in Qingdao, China, and Lake Pontchartrain Bridge in America, with a total length of 36 kilometers (22 miles) and a bridge length of 35.7 kilometers (22.2 miles).
Starting to be built on November 14, 2003, Hangzhou Bay Bridge was joined up on June 26, 2007, and put into use on May 1, 2008. It has six lanes with a designed speed of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour and a life span of over 100 years. The bridge shortens the distance between Ningbo and Shanghai by over 120 kilometers (about 75 miles), greatly reducing the stress of the crowded Shanghai-Hangzhou-Ningbo Highway and forming a Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai two-hour traffic circle, centering on Shanghai. It is now a convenient route on the Shenyang-Haikou Highway, a main line on China’s national highway, and an important part of the Hangzhou Bay Circle Highway (G92). The general bridge toll is CNY 80. As there are some distances between the entrance/exit and the bridge which are charged extra, the fee for crossing the bridge is altogether about CNY 135.
The concept of landscape design was used for the first time in the designing of the bridge. Inspired by the Sudi Bridge over the West Lake of Hangzhou and taking the water environment of Hangzhou Bay and the psychological activities of drivers and passengers into consideration, designers planned the location and appearance of the bridge. Seen from above, the bridge resembles a beautiful, vigorous and dynamic “S”. Viewed from the side, there are two big protruding channels in the south and north, where ships and the Qiantang River Tide can pass, making the deck to appear undulating in a lively way. The rails of the bridge are in rainbow colors, successively red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, blue and violet from south to north, each color covering about 5 kilometers (3 miles).
Land between the Sea and the Sky
To the south of the south channel, about 18 kilometers (11 miles) away from the south bank, there is a 12,000-square meter-big (3 acres) sightseeing platform named “Land between the Sea and the Sky”. Used as a home base for offshore workers during the construction period, this platform is now the world’s only sightseeing zone over sea. Decorated in blue and white, it consists of a viewing platform and tower. The ticket is CNY50 for the platform, CNY60 for the tower and CNY100 for a combo.
The viewing platform is a 24-meter high (about 79 feet) steel structure, resembling an eagle spreading its wings. It has six floors: the first and second floors are parking lots; the third floor is the main viewing area with an outdoor viewing zone, an indoor café, a multi-media theater, a museum, etc. Shops and restaurants are located on the fourth floor and on the fifth floor is a 5-star hotel, equipped with a meeting room and banquet hall. The sixth floor is for staff only.
The viewing tower is 145.6 meters (about 477.7 feet) high and connected to the platform by a 42-meter-long (about 46 yards) bridge. Standing on the viewing corridor on the fifteenth or sixteenth floor, visitors can see the Qiantang River Tide, nearby Jiaxing Port and Hangzhou Bay Wetland.
Visitors need get to the service areas at the south or north side of the bridge and then change to a shuttle bus. The frequency of the bus is about 30 minutes and the ticket is CNY 15 for a round trip.
For self-drive visitors, you also need to get to either of the service areas to get a parking permit and admissions tickets, and then continue driving to the Land between the Sea and the Sky. The parking fee is CNY10/hour for small vehicles and CNY 15/hour for large ones during the week; CNY20 for small vehicles and CNY30 for large ones on weekends and holidays.