At 42.5 kilometers, the Qingdao Haiwan Bridge, connecting the city of Qingdao in Eastern China's Shandong province with the suburban Huangdao District across the waters of the northern part of Jiaozhou Bay, is the longest bridge over water. The six-lane road bridge is almost 5 kilometers longer than the previous record holder - the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in the American state of Louisiana. When it opens to traffic later this year, the bridge is expected to carry over 30,000 cars a day and will cut the commute between the city of Qingdao and the sprawling suburb of Huangdao by between 20 and 30 minutes.
The bridge was built in just 4 years at a cost of US$ 8.6 billion. At least 10,000 workers toiled in two teams around the clock to build the bridge, which was constructed from opposite ends and connected in the middle in the last few days. The 450,000 ton structure of steel is supported by 5,200 columns and is strong enough to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake, typhoons or the impact of a 300,000 ton vessel.
China is already home to seven of the world's 10 longest bridges, including the world's lengthiest, the 102 mile Danyang-Kunshan rail bridge, which runs over land and water near Shanghai. And with Beijing pumping billions into boosting China's infrastructure, the Qingdao Haiwan Bridge will not be the world's longest sea bridge for very long. In December 2009, work started on a 31 mile bridge that will link Zhuhai in southern Guangdong Province, China's manufacturing heartland, with the financial centre of Hong Kong. The £6.5 billion project is expected to be completed in 2016.