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Steel Rainbow to Speed up Traffic

A steel rainbow has crossed over the Huangpu River as the last gap in the arch of the Lupu Bridge was successfully filled yesterday.

Chief designer Lin Yuanpei happily looked on as the remaining 6.8-meter-long portion was lifted 100 meters to complete his dream to construct the world's largest steel arch bridge.

With 2.2 billion yuan (US$266 million) in investment, this 3,900-meter-long bridge will break the world's bridge-building record with a 550-metre-long main arch, 32 meters longer than the New Virginia Bridge in the United States, currently the world's longest arch bridge.

The main arch is made up of 27 sections.

The bridge is made of more than 35,000 tons of steel and the main work will be paving the roadway for traffic and installing horizontal cables to fasten the arch.

The remaining work will not be a problem as local builders are experienced in these areas, Lin said.

The joining was expected to be completed in April but was delayed until yesterday due to technical difficulties.

Vice-mayor Han Zheng said the bridge is expected to be completed and put into operation in May 2003 to relieve the traffic crossing the river.

"The bridge will also contribute to the Shanghai's bid for the World Expo 2010," Han said.

"If the bidding is successful, some four square kilometers near the two ends of the bridge will be part of the venue."

Han also said Shanghai will have two more river-crossing projects next year -- the Outer-ring Road Tunnel which will be finished in May and the Dalian Road Tunnel to be completed by the end of 2003.

(China Daily October 8, 2002)