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The bridge that changed China forever – photos –  CNN – How the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge changed China forever

(CNN)China may be home to both the longest and highest bridges in the world, but neither is as pioneering as the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge.

Built during China’s tumultuous Cultural Revolution, the double-decked bridge was considered groundbreaking when it was unveiled in 1968. But more importantly to some, it was also the first modern bridge to be designed and built by China without help from foreign architects.
The Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge opened in 1968.

As major repairs get underway ahead of next year’s 50th anniversary, the bridge remains a source of pride in Nanjing, China’s former capital.
A project commissioned by railway officials hopes to secure the bridge’s legacy by documenting its history, according to the initiative’s head Lu Andong, a professor at Nanjing University’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning.
Designed by the Revolutionary Culture University of Jiangsu Province, this poster shows people marching towards the bridge. The bridge itself features sculptures depicting peasants, workers and soldiers.
“The bridge was so important, and it’s undoubtedly a symbol of the city,” he said. “It is being repaired for transportation and safety purposes, but I would relish the chance to transform the bridge’s tower and the affiliated park into places of memory.”

Made in China

China had initially hoped to build Nanjing’s bridge with its communist allies, the USSR. Having already helped construct a crossing at Wuhan (about 280 miles up the river), the Soviets once again offered technical assistance. But soon after construction began in 1960, relations between the two nations soured.
Soviet experts withdrew from the project ahead of the Sino-Soviet split — the breakdown of relations between the world’s largest communist powers from 1960. The bridge was nonetheless completed eight years later. China considered the accomplishment to be a major feat of engineering — and a propaganda victory.
A bridge stretches in a North-South direction. Designed by a creative group at the Jiangsu Provincial Cadre School, this poster attempts to illustrate the ease in transport the bridge provides.
At over 5,000 feet long, the bridge carries both cars and trains. Its upper deck is a four-lane highway with sidewalks, while the railway tracks are now part of the Beijing-Shanghai train route.
“Everybody loves the bridge,” said Wang Shiqing, a longtime Nanjing resident who has collected over 1,000 pieces of Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge memorabilia. “It’s a source of pride, especially for local Nanjing people,” he says.

New beginnings

As with other notable bridges — like San Francisco’s Golden Gate — the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge has become a popular suicide spot. However, for Nanjing’s residents, it is best known for transforming life in the city.
Before the bridge was built, people and goods could only cross the river by ferry. Trains passing through the city would have to be disassembled and loaded onto boats in order to continue their journey.
Upon its completion, the bridge changed the lives of the city’s residents.”In terms of the function, it made people’s lives so much easier,” said Wang, who was born the same year the bridge was opened. “It reduced the river crossing time and served as the main artery for north-south transportation.”

Sorgente: The bridge that changed China forever – CNN

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