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The Shanghai Lupu Bridge


With its world-class standard and unique bridge structure, the Lupu Bridge is well-known in the world. In a distance, with its cloud-white appearance, the Lupu Bridge is extremely attractive, and its main arch shows a spatial structural form of basket.

The main bridge of the Lupu Bridge is 750m long with a main span length of 550m. With its span being 32m longer than the famous New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia in USA, the Lupu Bridge is currently thought to be the biggest arch bridge by span in the world. It is designed with six vehicle lanes and a travelling speed of 60km/h. Being 110m above the river, the sightseeing platform set up on top of its arch rib is the highest sightseeing point on Huangpu River.

In addition to its largest arch in the world, Lupu Bridge is also the first ultra-large arch bridge using the box-type arch structure in the world and its 9mx5m main arch section is also the biggest in the world, below which 70,000dwt ships can pass. The Lupu Bridge is also the first large arch bridge linked by welding technique in the world (except for the joining joints that were bolted). Its total welding length at site was more than 40,000m, being close to the total length of the inner-ring overhead roads of Shanghai. Its welding technique created a splendid record comparable to its span: the primary conformity rate was more than 99%, with the accuracy of several milimeters. The tiny gap between the welding joints of the arch ribs can not even be passed through by an ant.

Lupu Bridge created more than 10 world records. With advanced technologies, it won the second prize of National Award for Science and Technology Advancement for A Study on Key Techniques for Design and Construction of Lupu Bridge, the first prize of Shanghai Municipal Award for Science and Technology Advancement for A Study on Key Techniques for Design of Lupu Bridge, the 5th Zhan Tianyou Civil Works Award, 2004 China Lu Ban Award for Building Works, the first prize of 2005 Shanghai Municipal Excellent Design Award, and IBC “Eugene Figer” Award and other awards.

The success of Lupu Bridge was not easily achieved. According to the navigational requirements, no piers are allowed to be constructed in the river and the bridge should be designed as a single-span bridge. Experts discussed and studied carefully about what kind of bridge to be built. As for cable stayed bridges, such bridges were already built on Huangpu River as Nanpu, Yangpu and Xupu, of which the design was already sophisticated, but there was no room for innovation; as for suspension bridges, they must be built on the river with a span of over 1,000m to show its grandness, and the construction cost is relatively high.

In 1999, as the Chief Designer of Nanpu Bridge and Yangpu Bridge, Academician Lin Yuanpei accepted another challenge to act as the Chief Designer of Lupu Bridge. From the experience gained from the Nanpu Bridge, Academician Lin thought that the Lupu Bridge should be designed as an arch bridge. After various discussions of experts, this proposal was adopted. Experts had never tried in designing such a large-span arch bridge, but they were full of confidence for this challenge: Shanghai is completely capable to win another first in the world in such aspects as design and construction of a large-span bridge as well as production of quality steel material, fabrication of steel structure and welding techniques.

During the process of design, experts revised the design scheme several times, including three major improvements: (1) the through-type structure of Lupu Bridge was changed to the half-through-type structure, lowering greatly the height of arch bridge and reducing the construction difficulty; (2) the steel-concrete structure was changed to the full-steel structure, making Lupu Bridge more splendid with modern style and features of Shanghai; (3) the arch rib section was changed from the equal-height “日” shape to the variable-height gyro shape so that the steel-structure arch bridge was more elegant and light, showing stronger lighting effects.

Facing the innovative design of Lupu Bridge, President of Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd (which built the Golden Bridge of Shanghai, a famous truss-type arch bridge with the steel structure at the Bund in Shanghai), Mr. Muller, said with certainty: “at least after 5 years, you will be able to see the profile of this bridge only.” However, in June 2003, after two years and eight months only, the Chinese builders exhibited the outstanding work to the world.

Currently, Lupu Bridge has become the best platform for Chinese and foreign tourists to climb up for a distant view and see around the beautiful scenes on the banks of Pujiang River. Lupu Bridge has the function of sightseeing just like Bay Bridge in Sydney, Australia. The designer arranged the sightseeing platform on the top of the arch ribs to ensure a higher point for sightseeing. Tourists need to walk on more than 300 stairs of the slant arch rib for sightseeing, which enhancees the sightseeing, interest and movement. Since Lupu Bridge is located on the center axis of the site for Shanghai World Expo 2010, the sightseeing platform, a “crown of laurels” mounted on the arch rib of Lupu Bridge, will be the best spot for a bird view over the site of World Expo.

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