12/12/2019

Japanese miracle: a suspension bridge capable of encircling the Earth 7 times

There is reliable information about the construction of such structures in Southeast Asia, Ancient Egypt, Central, and South America. Consequently, we can assume that such a construction has been known to humanity for more than 3 thousand years. True, during all this time, the hanging bridges remained rather primitive and allowed to overcome small water barriers and gorges.

With the development of technology, suspension bridges became stronger, longer and more reliable. The first modern bridge was built by James Finley in 1796 in the Northeast USA. Since then, among the projects of engineers began the competition for the title of the longest bridge, which currently wins the Akashi Kaikyo bridge of the Japanese specialist Satoshi Kashima. He connects the islands of Shikoku and Awaji, and in his short history has twice entered the Guinness Book of Records. First, Akashi Kaikyo is recognized as the longest suspension bridge in the world. The distance from one end to the other is 3911 meters. Secondly, the construction of Satoshi Kashima from 1998 to 2004 was recognized as the highest bridge in the world. Only the Millau viaduct in the south of France could surpass it.

Construction of the Akashi Kaikyo bridge began in 1988 and lasted 10 years. Frequent and severe storms, as well as almost a half thousand ships plying the strait daily, created additional difficulties for the workers. Initially, in the project, on which hundreds of specialists worked for almost 3 years, it was assumed that the length of the central section of the structure would be 1990 meters. But the forces of nature made their adjustments to the plans of engineers. In 1995, a very strong earthquake happened in Kobe, due to which one of the pylons deviated from the given course by almost 1 meter, so the whole bridge had to be “pulled out” by as much in order to preserve the integrity and design strength.

Another problem faced by the workers was related to the fact that the concrete for the bridge supports needed to be laid directly under the water. To successfully resolve this issue, we had to create a new type of building material, which quickly hardened right at the bottom of the bay.

The design of any modern suspension bridge consists of a variety of steel cables. Akashi Kaikyo have so many of them that they can gird our entire planet almost seven times! Particular attention in the construction of the bridge was paid to safety. The grand structure is so stable that it can safely withstand the most powerful undercurrents, winds, the speed of which reaches 80 meters per second, as well as earthquakes of magnitude up to 8.5 points.

About 2 million workers took part in the construction of the Akashi Kaikyo bridge. The state spent on the construction of buildings about $ 5 billion. In order to somehow recoup the costs, the passage on the bridge was paid. Now, this pleasure costs 20 dollars. Because of such a high price, many Japanese prefer to continue using ferries to cross the Akashi Strait.

Next to the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is a museum dedicated to him. In it you can see a smaller copy of the structure, examine information about all stages of its construction, ranging from digging the pit and ending with the tension of the cables. The museum occupies two floors and consists of 13 separate zones. In addition to the bridge layouts, here is a part of the present cable, whose diameter is 1.12 meters.

The museum receives visitors daily, except Mondays and holidays. Its doors are open from 09:15 to 17:00 from the beginning of April to July 19, until 6:00 pm from July 20 to July 31, and at other times it is open until 16:30.

There is a special observation deck on the bridge itself, although you can climb it only when accompanied by a museum employee. From there, from the height of a 100-story building, there is an incredible view of the bridge, the city of Kobe and Awaji Island. Every day, two excursions are organized on the site. The ticket price is 3000 yen (1920 rubles). An application for a visit to the observation deck must be submitted in advance and not less than 2 months before the planned date.

The easiest way to reach the longest suspension bridge in the world is from Osaka, where the international airport is located. Fly to this Japanese city from Russia, as a rule, can be only with one change.

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