On April 29, 1991, the construction of the Yangpu Bridge, another long-span bridge at the estuary of Yangtze River, was formally started, drawing the attention of the world. It was the second cable-stayed bridge with double-tower, double-cable-plane and overlapped-beam, which was designed and constructed independently by China after the Nanpu Bridge. The bridge has a total length of 7,658m and the main bridge is 1,178m long. For the main span, one-span river-crossing solution was adopted, with a span length up to 602m, 72m longer than the 530m main span of the Skansen Bridge in Norway, which had been previously ranked the first concrete cable-stayed bridges in the world. The two 208m inverted “Y” diamond-shape main towers on the Yangpu Bridge were especially attractive. On both sides of each main tower, 32 pairs of cables were neatly arranged.
Construction of the Yangpu Bridge witnessed the rapid economic development of Shanghai. Before the Nanpu Bridge was formally joined, the preliminary work had already started for the Yangpu Bridge.
In the late 1980s, the cross-river tunnel and vehicle ferry was congested in downtown area of Shanghai. The Dapu Bridge, Yan’an East Road Tunnel, and the Nanpu Bridge were all located in the south of Suzhou River, while there was not any river crossings available in the north area of Suzhou River, whose river-crossing traffic volume was 34% of total volume. Hence, it was rather urgent to build a bridge crossing Huangpu River, in the north of Suzhou River, for relieving the tension of crossing the river and forming a new three-dimensional traffic pattern of the inner ring line integrated with Pudong and Puxi.
This project of great impact was officially completed on September 15, 1993, taking a period of two years and five months. With such short period of construction, the project exhibited to the world the spirit, speed and standard of Shanghai. By building the Yangpu Bridge, more than 7,800 bridge builders erected one monument for the citizens of Shanghai. It was built by absorbing as well as improving and innovating the advanced technologies and experience used and gained in such excellent bridges in China as Nanpu Bridge.
Structurally, the box girders of the Yangpu Bridge were based on “H-shaped” girders of the Nanpu Bridge upon improvement, showing higher technical requirements. In addition, for the Yangpu Bridge, the prestressed anchoring method was also successful practice on towers and cables, as has established a typical example for anchoring techniques of future cable stayed bridges.
The Yangpu Bridge showed relatively high standards of architectural accuracy and quality. The girders were linked with more than 300,000 sets of high-strength bolts. There were 1,008,000 bolt holes, but no errors were found. The main towers were designed with a vertical accuracy of one in three thousands, but the actual accuracy was one in fifteen thousands, with only a vertical deviation of 1.39cm for the 208-m main tower.
The successful construction of the Yangpu Bridge was also highly praised by foreign experts. Behind the bridge construction, there was a story that the designers would never forget. Since the Yangpu Bridge was built with the loan provided by Asian Development Bank (ADP), the expert team organized by ADP conducted the quite a careful and rigorous review over the Yangpu Bridge. Eventually, foreign experts concluded that the Yangpu Bridge had not only rationally designed, but also represented a major progress in bridge techniques. One of the foreign experts commented: “for a developing country to be able to build a world-record-breaking cable-stayed bridge in such a short period of time, it is just like winning six gold medals at Olympic Games.”
Today, with its unique design concept and style, the Yangpu Bridge has become a symbolic structure and a famous scenic spot of Shanghai. Tourists coming for its fame were also convinced by the outstanding wisdom and excellent techniques demonstrated by its designers and builders. In the same year, Comrade Deng Xiaoping, who had stepped on the Nanpu Bridge twice, also personally visited the Yangpu Bridge. At that time, he was already 94 years old. Standing on the cable stayed bridge with No.1 span in the world; he commented with astonishment and excitement: “looking at this road is superior to reading books for ten thousand years.”