Alot has been said about this massive structure that spans 4,588m, double-decker design steel bridge. The bridge spans across the mighty Yangtze river connecting Pukou and Xiaguan Districts in Nanjing. It carries upto 80,000 vehicles and 200 trains daily . The railway double track runs under the dual carriage-way. Completed in 1968 it stands tall, a mighty show of Chinese engineering.
Despite the early February fog, we decided to travel and see this much talked about structure. Bus No 21 will get you there without any hustle. However for the Metro-lovers, the subway does not go through this area so you can opt for a taxi. Good news is that a new metro line is due to open before the Olympics which will travel near the bridge. Bus No.21 will stop at the Southern end of the bridge just before the on-ramp, so one can alight here and walk across the massive structure. We opted however to take Bus 174 thereafter which would take us to the Northern gate in Pukou District, after which we would walk back sampling the bridge step by step.
Chinese are very proud of the bridge and we met them in their numbers along the bridge taking photographs. As Michael Paterniti would put it:
“Its formal name was the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, and it served one other purpose for the masses: At least once a week, someone jumped to his or her death here, but a total was hard to come by, in part because the Chinese authorities refused to count those who missed the river, the ones who’d leapt and had the misfortune of landing in the trees along the riverbank, or on the concrete apron beneath the bridge, or who were found impressed in the earth like mud angels, two feet from rushing water. Perhaps such strict bookkeeping came in response to the fact that China already posts the highest sheer numbers, about 200,000 “reported” suicide cases a year, constituting a fifth of all the world’s suicides. For a long time, the Communist government simply ignored the problem, hoping it would go away, or maybe thinking in the most Darwinian terms of suicide as its own method of population control.”
The bridge has been a common spot for suicides making it the number one spot in the world. The still water below is occasionally disrupted by slow moving badges hauling tonnes of coal up the Yangtze. As the sun slowly hid behind the clouds the bridge stood still, like it had for the last 40 years, and another day had just been added to its lifetime. The road surface needs some attention and more than once we could feel chilling vibrations as the swift Chinese trains kissed the steel rails below deck.